FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– With smiles, tears and an overwhelming sense of pride, 24-year-old Dustin Wier recently became a full-fledged Fort Collins Police Officer.
He says his father- Jim Wier- would have been proud. Jim Wier was a rookie Denver Police Officer, gunned down in the line of duty when Dustin was just six weeks old.
“There were times I tried to talk myself out of it for whatever reason but I always believed that law enforcement was what I wanted to do,” said Dustin Wier at the completion of his yearlong training to become a Fort Collins Officer.
His father had been with the Denver Police Department just four- and-a-half-months when a domestic violence suspect shot and killed Officer Wier June 3, 1987 as he responded to a call. The suspect, Charles Tarr, then killed himself.
Wier left behind a young wife and an infant son who is now a grown man following in his father’s footsteps.
“I know he’s watching over me and I try to make him proud through every step of the process,” said Dustin Wier.
Dustin’s grandmother- Jim Wier’s mother- has also been there every step of the way and looked on with pride and sadness as Dustin officially became a Fort Collins officer January 13.
“I’m proud of him,” said Norma Wier. “He’ll be a helper he really will be. He’ll be one of the good guys.”
Watching her grandson enter law enforcement was bittersweet for Norma as it brought back memories of her son.
“I’m just thankful he (Jim) got to do what he got to do and had the beautiful boy he had and he’ll take Jim’s place,” said Norma.
Jim Wier’s widow, Shawn, has moved to New York State but is in close contact with Dustin.
“I have had close friends ask me,’How could you let him be a cop?’. I simply say there was no “letting” him do anything. .. I raised all four of my children to be independent, respectful and kind. I always trusted him to make the best decisions for himself and he did. Jim would be even more proud of him than I am,” said Shawn.
“I really believe the world has been blessed with such a calm, compassionate and kind man to serve and protect them as they were blessed when Jim chose to devote himself to law enforcement. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto says he is optimistic about Dustin Wier’s future.
“For him carrying that with him all his life and deciding to go into the “family business” if you will, is pretty remarkable,” said Hutto.
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com