LOCAL NEWS

Law Enforcement Officers Praised For Showing Restraint

Sep 27, 2018, 10:38 PM | Updated: Sep 28, 2018, 10:40 am

MOAB, Utah – You could spend a hundred years shooting the perfect picture in and around Moab.

Moab Police Cpl. Aaron Woodard

Aaron Woodard sure knows. He grew up there.

However, one of his best memories lately is the shot he didn’t take. And in this case, he’s not talking about his camera.

“We were called to a trailer park on an unwanted subject,” said Woodard.

You see, Woodard is a Moab police officer.

The Grand Oasis

He’s been on the job for 16 years.

The call he received from dispatch this past weekend at the Grand Oasis Trailer Park was similar to calls he’s handled throughout career.

“Hopefully, it’s just someone we’re going to send out of there for the night so there are no more problems,” he said.

However, this call had a very different ending.

Nathaniel Lee

Woodard and another Moab police officer found the man walking outside after a few minutes and recognized him from past dealings with him. He is 45-year-old Nathaniel Lee.

The officers started talking to him and asking him what he was doing.

“As we’re asking these questions, he’s being very fidgety,” said Woodard. “He’s reaching into his waistband; he’s reaching into his pockets and things like that, so it started making me a little nervous.”

San Juan County deputy Rhett Adair, who was in the area and also responded to the call, saw what Lee was reaching for.

San Juan County Deputy Rhett Adair

“It was a scary situation,” said deputy Adair. “It was hard for me to see what was exactly coming out, but I had my light on him, and I just see the shine of the knife.”

Without hesitation, all three officers backed away, took out their gun, and yelled at Lee to drop his knife.

“I saw what appeared to be from flexing to relaxing,” said Woodard, talking about Lee’s forearm. “At that time, I pulled my finger off the trigger, told him one more time, and he dropped the knife.”

Officers eventually put Lee in handcuffs without firing a single shot.

Moab police chief Jim Winder

Moab police Chief Jim Winder says the officers probably could have shot him because they felt like they were in danger.

However they didn’t.

Winder says the officers handled it about as professionally as possible.

“In law enforcement today, there’s so much discussion about excessive use of force and officers judgment and what their moral approach is,” said Chief Winder.

Winder also feels there’s also something about working in a more rural environment where law enforcement officers aren’t always on edge.

Moab police

As the former Salt Lake County sheriff, he says he has seen the difference since coming to Moab a year ago.

“Instead of exhibiting what the general public thinks is the ‘all too often approach,’ they saved a man’s life. A man who was high on alcohol and methamphetamine and probably was trying to kill himself and use these officers as an excuse,” said Chief Winder.

Lee in now in jail and will now get the help he needs.

“I hope we can change somebody’s life from this,” said Woodard.

The officers involved also don’t have to live with the responsibility of taking a life.

“I was able to go home and lay down in my bed at night and feel good about the outcome of that call,” said Deputy Adair.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Cottonwood High lines up for a free kick following a fair catch against Jordan High. (KSL Sports)...
Andrew Adams

Coach, kicker & official reflect on Cottonwood High’s rare, game-winning play

Cottonwood defeated Jordan High after the Colts attempted and converted a free kick for three points with 12 seconds left following a fair catch on a punt.
4 days ago
...
Karah Brackin

Utah Veterans head to Washington D.C. for ‘trip of a lifetime’

75 veterans left Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning.
4 days ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
4 days ago
Yvette Rodier, shooting survivor...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

LETTER PODCAST: Victim says bullet wounds were easiest part of recovery

When Yvette Rodier woke up in a hospital, she knew, even before anyone told her, that her friend, Zachary Snarr, was dead.
4 days ago
Housing construction....
Ladd Egan

Unaffordable Utah: Mortgage rates climb again as buyers look for price reductions

Utah's housing market is whiplashing as last year's buying frenzy seems to have slowed down to signs of a recession.
5 days ago
FILE...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest, most secure password in the history of cybersecurity, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Law Enforcement Officers Praised For Showing Restraint