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Sergeant Nephi P. Pierce, the Life of an Officer

January 23, 2018

Criminal Justice 1010

Jordan Silotti

Writing Assignment 3.1

Sergeant Nephi P. Pierce, the Life of an Officer


When I was at the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial in Salt Lake City I chose to

learn more about Sgt. Nephi P. Pierce. Sgt. Pierce lived a great life protecting the

community he loved. He worked hard till the day he was shot and killed while stopping

an armed robbery. His wife committed suicide only months later. Their lives were sorely

missed. The work he did influenced and helped others, but had its own effects on his

family life.
Sergeant Nephi P. Pierce, the Life of an Officer


Colorado and Utah both were victims to a series of crimes committed by Henry

Hett and Arthur Hayes. One of which was armed robbery in the Salt Lake City area.

Hett had lost both parents while young, and both Henry and Arthur learned to survive on

the streets as youth. This led to a life of crime by both (Fallen) (Gillespie, 1991).

On November 27, 1922 Sgt Nephi P. Pierce and Officer George Watson were

patrolling on foot doing their normal duty, when they spotted Hett and Hayes. Sgt Pierce

called for them to stop. While Hayes took off, Hett pulled out a revolver and fired at Sgt

Pierce, hitting him in the abdomen. He then ordered Officer Watson to an empty parking

lot where he “pistol whipped” him, and escaped (Pistol whipping is the act of beating

someone with a pistol). Hett and Hayes were arrested the next day, ending their streak

of crime.

For their crimes, Hayes was given a life sentence out of mercy, since he did not

commit the murder himself. He was later put on parole after serving nearly 4 years. Hett

was sentenced to be executed, and just years later on the 20 th of February 1925 he was

executed. However, Hett changed quite a bit while in prison; He “came to God”. His

closing words before his trial were, “a word to the boys in this prison. I shall not feel that

I have died in vain if my passing will show to you that there is only one road that leads

to happiness, and that is the straight and narrow path of honesty, virtue and truth.

Please do not treat this as only the dying admonition of a fellow convict. Its observance

by you will mean to me that my sacrifice may prove your salvation” (Gillespie, 1991),

(The Badge Of Life, 2016).

Sergeant Nephi P. Pierce, the Life of an Officer

While it is great that Hett changed before his last breath, the story of Sgt. Pierce

continues. Sgt Pierce’s spine was severed when he was shot and he died four months

later, after having faithfully served for twelve years protecting the community he loved.

This is not all, three months after Pierces death, his wife Marie committed suicide, which

is believed to be caused by the death of her beloved. Suicide by officers is not an

uncommon event. Studies by share that in 2016 there were 108

police suicides. Sgt Pierce and his wife Marie are now buried together and resting in

peace at the Mount Olivet Cemetery, (Salt Lake City Police Department).

(Salt Lake City Police Department)

Sergeant Nephi P. Pierce, the Life of an Officer


In closing I would like to express that I feel it appropriate that we all have feelings

of gratitude for each of the officers that serves faithfully. They are there to protect their

family, and their community. They love their community, and they take powerful oaths to

do their duties to the best of their ability. I will share a few phrases from the Police Code

of Ethics. “AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, my fundamental duty is to serve

mankind”, “to respect the Constitutional rights of all persons to liberty, equality and

justice”, “I WILL keep my private life unsullied as an example to all” and “I RECOGNIZE

the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith”. When officers are sworn into duty

they take upon themselves a high code of ethics, that above most people. And they do

their best to do their duty. Since I have begun this class I have gained a greater respect

and reverence for Sgt. Pierce and any other officer who serves valiantly. Visiting the

memorial was a special experience.

Sergeant Nephi P. Pierce, the Life of an Officer

Works Cited
Fallen, U. (n.d.). Serggeant Npehi P. Pierce. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from Utah's

Gillespie, L. K. (1991). The Unforgiven.

Salt Lake City Police Department. (n.d.). In Memoriam: Seargeant Nephi Pierce.
Retrieved March 20, 2018, from Salt Lake City Police Department:

The Badge Of Life. (2016). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from policesuicidestudy: