BEYOND THE BADGE

Officer Jared Jensen, Clinton City Police Department

Aug 1, 2016, 2:18 PM | Updated: Feb 25, 2019, 3:29 pm
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SUNSET — A Utah officer polices the streets despite a terrifying incident in his first few months on the job that could have cut his career very short.

On Dec. 13, 2012, officer Jared Jensen was four months into his service with the Sunset Police Department when he came face to face with a man who had a grudge.

“It was a scary thing that you don’t really expect to happen,” he said.

“I noticed this individual on the north side of the road, kind of giving me an odd stare,” he explained. “He lifted up his sweatshirt and pulled a handgun from his waistband and continued to fire eight rounds into my vehicle.”

Several of those shots hit the vehicle’s window, Jensen noted. “One hit our little plastic plexi-glass frame we have between our drivers seat and our cage. It’s merely plexi-glass, however that day it stopped a bullet.”

“More progressed through the window, coming across my steering wheel and into the computer we have mounted over here,” he continued. “I believe there were two in the computer, several glanced off the steering wheel again, one impacted the seat just behind me and ended up in our door.”

Eight bullets were fired and went “through the driver side, across my body, into the passenger side of the vehicle,” Jensen said.

Yet, not a single one struck Jensen.

“I still don’t understand how it happened the way that it did and I’m able to be here and discuss it with you guys,” he added.

Officers from across the Wasatch Front raced to the scene that day.

“That was an amazing sound at that moment hearing all the sirens and on the radio, people coming from Kaysville and North Salt Lake and Weber County. The response, the brotherhood, and the family that we talk about was real for me that day.”

Someone also rushed to his side that night — an officer who is family in blue and family by blood. Jensen’s father is Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen.

“It wasn’t police instinct. It was parental instinct,” he said. “Not wanting to admit too much on TV, I think I broke the speed limit getting to Clinton that night.”

Chief Jensen was shocked at what his son survived.

“As I came out to the scene and actually saw the vehicle and saw the bullet holes, it was frightening,” he said.

Officers found the gunman 40 minutes later, casually making a phone call. Zane Openshaw admitted he was waiting for a police officer to drive by that night. Now, nearly four years later, he remains incarcerated at the Utah State Prison.

Four years later, officer Jensen vividly remembers what happened that night.

“The thud of (bullets) impacting the metal, hearing them come through the glass as well,” he said.

“It’s just a sound and experience that I’ll never forget. I mean, I drive that same road every day. Every day in my patrol responsibilities I travel that same road. It’s something I think about and remember often. In a way, I think that’s good. It kind of keeps me on my toes, ready to handle an incident like that if it were to happen again,” he said.

“I’m proud of him for what he does and how he represents himself as a police officer,” Chief Jensen said.

He still worries about his son and his choice to follow in his footsteps. But it’s a career choice even eight bullets and a brush with death couldn’t alter.

“My mother and my wife and people that I’m sure care about me discussed it, but this is the career I have chosen. It’s a career I love and it’s a career I feel is needed in society. I want to be a part in making my community I work for a better place,” officer Jensen said.

He uses his experience to teach and train new police officers at the Weber State Police Academy. He’s also a member of the V-FAST fugitive task force, tracking down violent offenders.

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Officer Jared Jensen, Clinton City Police Department