January 12, 2015
The Salt Lake Police Association would like to extend our sympathies to the family and friends of James Dudley Barker. We would also like to let the Officer and his family know our thoughts are with him and his family as well.
This is an unfortunate situation which happened within a few seconds. We would like to the thank those in the public who have showed support for the Officer and ask those who still have questions to please be patient as the investigation is completed. After reviewing the video, which was released to the public, we believe the Officer acted reasonably, both legally and morally, based on the information he was provided at the time. Officers, as often is the case, do not have the luxury of knowing many of the people we come in contact with, prior to situations like these. We are required to act, both in self defense or in defense of the public with only tiny pieces of information. Far too often our duties are dictated by the actions of the individuals we are dealing with. In this situation, we believe the Officer acted both Professional and respectful.
We are proud of the investigative skills of the Salt Lake City Police Homicide Squad and are confident they will conduct a complete and impartial investigation as they coordinate with the District Attorney's Office. Salt Lake City Police is one of if not the only department in the state with a complete detective squad assigned solely to investigating Homicides, which makes them the most qualified entity to investigate this case. Claims of corruption or the "Blue Line Investigation", are baseless and only hinder the investigation.
We would encourage a peaceful approach to the discussion. The National narrative which appears to be spreading, seems to encourages physical or violent dissention or interactions with the police and only tears at the community fabric. The Salt Lake Police Association is in support of the Officer Body Camera program. We believe, as in this situation, it allows the public to get a glimpse into what Officers deal with on a daily basis. They can also see just how quickly a situation can escalate and how little information Officers often have when life and death decisions need to be made.
The priority of every Officer is first and foremost, return home safely to your family. Under no circumstances is an Officer allowed to be assaulted or injured in any capacity. There is no amount of required sustained injury prior to defending him or herself. However each situation should be evaluated and be required to meet the "reasonable person" standard as is being done in this case to determine if the force used met the standard. Once the investigation is complete, we are confident it will show in this case, the Officer did nothing wrong.
We look forward the investigation being completed and the full details being released. We believe they will further exonerate the Officer and his actions that night.
Michael Millard, President
Salt Lake Police Association