Mesa County Sheriff deputy to be honored at law enforcement memorial

Sgt. Wayne Weyler
Sgt. Wayne Weyler(KKCO)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 8:49 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Members from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office will be headed to Washington D.C. next week to remember and honor one of their fallen deputies.

Sgt. Wayne Weyler was a 41 year law enforcement veteran, with 26 of those years spent at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. He came to Mesa County in 1996 from Adams County.

Like many law enforcement officers, Weyler contracted COVID-19 while on duty, interacting with the community. He died fighting the virus on Dec 10, 2021. His death was ruled to be a line-of-duty death.

“He was a tenacious investigator, that’s why he was brought here,” said Sheriff Todd Rowell. “Every single high-profile case Mesa County Sgt. Weyler had a hand in.”

Rowell said Weyler’s work as a strong victim advocate garnered him national attention, appearing multiple times on shows such as 2020 and Dateline.

“He loved telling the story of victims,” said Rowell. “I think he always wanted to be the voice for deceased person that could no longer speak for themselves.”

Weyler spent several years on the department’s crime reduction unit. According to Rowell, Weyler would look at a problem any particular community was having and he would find a way to bring the community together to help improve their lives. Weyler also started a peer support group to help his fellow deputies cope with the trauma that they could experience due to the nature of the job.

One of the things that Rowell remembers most is how much Weyler cared for his coworkers.

“One of the deputies was at a football game with their kid, and Wayne Weyler would show up just to watch and learn more about their family,” said Rowell. “I know the passing of Wayne affected a lot of the wives and spouses of law enforcement as well as kids of law enforcement officers, because he was so connected with families and fully wanting to know who people were. It absolutely took a toll on us and our extended family in the community.

Weyler’s daughter, Tricia Duran, remembers her father as a man with a big personality who was larger than life.

“We’ve always seen how great he’s been with the community and how much the community meant to him,” said Duran.

Even during family time, Duran said her father was ready to answer the call to work.

“There wasn’t a time that we had a family get-together that he didn’t have his radio with him,” said Duran. “He was always one hand in family and one hand in the job and I think that was a testament to him about how dedicated and how focused he was.”

After Weyler passed last year, Duran said many people reached out to her and her family with stories of how he touched their lives and made a difference.

“We knew he was out there,” said Duran. “We knew his presence was in the community. We just didn’t realize how big, but we quickly understood that. He’s left not only a huge hole in our family but a huge hole in the community.

That void is something the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office is still healing from.

“It was devastating to this organization,” said Rowell. “We had some grieving to go through. I knew that we had to take care of his widow, Liz and the family. Our organization is good at that. Our community is good about taking care of us when we suffer a loss like that.”

On Friday, Sgt. Weyler, along with seven other fallen Colorado heroes, will be honored at the state’s Law Enforcement Memorial in Golden. Weyler’s family as well as a few members from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office will be there. May 16, they’ll be traveling to Washington D.C. to be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

“When we found out we were overjoyed,” said Duran. “It’s a great honor to be on that wall. We just feel very fortunate that we can be there to honor his legacy.”

The events in Washington D.C. will be live streamed starting at 6:00 pm MDT.

The service can be viewed here.

Copyright 2022 KKCO. All rights reserved.