As many of you know, early last Sunday morning the Provo PD was involved in an incident resulting in an officer-involved shooting of twenty-four year old Cody Evans. Though Chief King has pointed out that facts are still being gathered, I feel as though I have enough information to publicly remark on this case at this time.
First, let me acknowledge my clear partiality for our police officers. Before serving as Mayor I worked with law enforcement for over a decade. I’ve visited hundreds of police departments around the world. This experience has given me a healthy respect for the difficulty of their job and that has only been deepened since becoming mayor and working with the many talented and dedicated men and women in our police department.
Also, I wish to express my deepest sympathy to those who knew and loved Cody Evans. No matter the circumstances, it is clear to me that family members and friends of Cody are grieving and my heart is sad for them. He leaves behind three children. For this reason alone it’s important for us to have all the facts straight and clear on this case.
Perhaps most important are my thoughts of gratitude, respect and admiration for Provo Police Office Zac Lazenby, Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Bagley and all of those involved in Sunday morning’s events. From the moment the initial call came in to dispatch many impactful and important decisions were made by professionals with little time to analyze or strategize before acting.
Provo residents should know that everyday our police officers go to work prepared to make these decisions. They are trained, experienced and always ready for a spectrum of possibilities. They live with the reality that every call, every traffic stop, every interaction could be an innocent resident who drove too fast, or the hardened criminal ready to take a life. And they live with the fact that every day every decision must stand up to the scrutiny of all of us—the citizens they are charged to serve and protect.
The residents of Provo should know that I believe Provo PD acted according to proper training procedures in the death of Cody Evans. Every decision—from the initial dispatch call, to de-escalation strategies, defense techniques, and ultimately, their interaction with the press–were carried out with skill and professional consideration. They did their job Sunday morning and they do it every day. They are dedicated to keep us safe and they have my gratitude, respect and admiration.