By Pat Reavy

SALT LAKE CITY — In a procession estimated to be seven miles long, thousands of motorcycle riders joined local law enforcement Sunday for the 9th annual Utah Law Enforcement Memorial Ride for Fallen Officers.

The ride started at Timpanogos Harley Davidson and ended at the Utah Fallen Officer’s Memorial at the State Capitol.

Shante Johnson, the widow of Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sept. 1, 2013, addressed those who participated in the ride, thanking them for their support since her husband’s death.

“You are how we get through,” she said with her voice shaking. “You make their sacrifice not forgotten. And as a surviving family member, there’s no greater honor than to know that when my husband strapped on his badge that day and he pulled over to help somebody and they took his life, that you haven’t forgotten and you know how dangerous their jobs are. And they do it every single day. And I know, because I lived with it, they don’t think about it. They don’t think twice. It’s just what they do.”

Johnson said it has only been recently that she has started to “come out of the fog” of her husband’s death.

Bensen Johnson wore his father’s badge around his neck during Sunday’s ceremony and a blue ribbon pinned to his shirt. Shante Johnson recalled several memories of her son and late husband’s time together, including one month before his death when the two went camping in the backyard because they couldn’t find the time to go to the mountains. And in a joking but loving way recalled how her husband and Bensen would sneak away to get ice cream just one hour before dinner, something that didn’t go over well with her.

Johnson said her husband was one of the 137 “humble heroes” who have paid the ultimate price in Utah while protecting and serving the public.

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