Lehi Police Department has been especially present in our community over the last month. They participated in the 2nd annual Dawgs and Dogs event and led donations in the Battle of the Badges blood drive with the Fire Department. They have handed out “Otter Cops” on hot summer days, provided the honor guard for the Round-Up parade, judged the Arts Council’s chalk art competition, and introduced us all to their new mascot, Blue. Coming up they have an active shooter drill and National Night Out on August 14.
But a reminder of their regular duties came during the City Council meeting on July 10 when Thad Adams, father of Officer Joe Adams, visited us. Do you know Joe’s story? Do your children know it? Everyone in Lehi should, because Joe Adams is the only modern-day Lehi police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Joe died in August 2001 following a traffic stop on 2100 North during which his assailant shot and killed him. He was only 26. Joe left behind a young wife and 8-month-old son. At the time, then-Councilman Johnny Barnes told the Deseret News, “I want it to be a wake-up call for people, a motivation to get on the ball, get involved, teach our kids, not just point fingers. I think we can use this to uplift and help by getting involved in service.”
Following his death, Joe’s family created a scholarship in his memory to help other men and women through the Police Academy Program at UVU. Lehi City contributes to the scholarship each year. Joe’s father expressed gratitude to the citizens of Lehi for remembering and honoring his son and asked that we continue our contribution.
I moved here after Joe’s death, like more than 41,000 other current Lehians. I never met him. Until last week he was a name on the outside of our police station, a shadow box full of memorabilia in the lobby, and a cross in the Memorial Park on State Street. As I have learned about him and his sacrifice, Joe has become a personal hero.
Joe’s son Cade is a young man now, and the same age as my disabled son Alex. I love to watch our officers interact with my son. They know his name, and he knows theirs. Alex thinks Chief Paul hung the moon. It hurts to realize that Cade can’t remember his father. Whenever I see our police officers with Lehi’s children, handing out stickers and high fives, I know how lucky we all are.
Our police department serves the community in hundreds of ways, every single day. But behind the parades and picnics, blood drives and badges, there are the selfless public servants who proudly wear the same uniform Joe did, and the brave families who stand and support them. May they be protected and blessed. And may Lehi never forget.