A Hometown Hero - Logan City Police Officer, Willard R. Dahle
My name is Jill Wilson, owner and insurance agent for Hometown Insurance Agency of Utah. We want to share with you a segment we are starting called “Hometown Hero’s”. The first Hometown Hero article is on my great grandfather, a Logan City Police Officer. Officer Willard R. Dahle was killed in the line of duty in 1929.
Before we get to talk more about Officer Dahle I’d like to elaborate on why we have chosen him for our Hometown Hero. Officer Dahle represents law enforcement, a sometimes not-so-glamorous job. To help you understand what today’s Logan City police officers are up against, consider this statistic: Logan City has 59 officers and 51,000 residents. That’s one officer for roughly every 900 residents living in Logan City. Let’s think about being a principal of a school that a has 900 students, except, rather than a school building where they are all under one roof, they are scattered across the entire City of Logan which is 18 square miles. Your job is to keep an eye on all the them ALL THE TIME. Because of officers, like officer Dahle, Logan and Cache Valley in general are safe places to live. These officers risk their lives to keep the criminals off the streets so you and I (and our families) can walk on sidewalks in peace. This a daunting task that all officers are faced with every day, and for this reason, Hometown Insurance Agency of Utah chooses Officer, Willard R. Dahle as our first Hometown hero.
As mentioned above, Officer Willard R. Dahle is my great grandfather. I never had the chance to meet him as he died before I was born, but he is part of my family and therefore, part of my life. Officer Dahle was one of 11 Dahle brothers, born to immigrants from Norway and his parents were pioneers. Officer Dahle was a faithful, honored and trusted officer. He was known as a true friend, comrade and for his profound kindness. He never hesitated to jump into action when he was needed, no matter how high the risk was.
To understand how Officer Dahle became a hometown hero, you first must understand a little about the time in America when he was an officer. In 1919 Prohibition became the law in the United States. This meant that it was against the law drink, buy, sell, or make alcohol and if you were caught with alcohol you would be arrested. People who illegally made, imported, or sold alcohol during this time were called bootleggers. Cache Valley had many bootleggers. Events leading up to Dahle’s murder began on May 1, 1929, when Logan officers raided a bootlegger’s home and arrested him. He was released from custody after he paid a $1,000 fine for manufacturing whiskey and had written a check for his bail but forgot to sign it. On May 4, 1929, Officer Dahle was sent to the suspect’s home for the purpose of securing a signature. The 53-year-old officer was sitting in a chair in the suspect’s bedroom discussing the matter when he was shot three times in the chest with a .38-automatic pistol, one of the shots hitting his pocket watch and the other 2 shots penetrated his heart. The suspect then committed suicide. Officer Dahle was married to Vilate Barson Dahle and the father of three children (my grandfather Alton Dahle was one of his sons). Officer Dahle is a hometown hero because he died serving the Logan Community.
Officer Dahle is buried in the Logan City Cemetery, and his bronze name plaque is sponsored by the Logan City Police Benefit Association. Each year the Logan City Police Department honors Officer Dahle by presenting the “Willard R. Dahle Award” that goes to the “Top Cop” of the year. He also has a plaque at the Logan City Police Department, the Utah State Capitol building in Salt Lake City and in Washington DC.
A Logan City park and Logan City street have both been dedicated in his honor “The Willard R. Dahle Memorial Park” and “Dahle Way”. The street runs adjacent to the park at 1230 South 850 West, Logan, UT 84321. The land was donated by Doris Jones, the daughter of Officer Dahle.