Officer’s cancer death recognized as LODD from meth exposure 16 years later
Officer Trenton Halladay’s throat would burn for days after busting a meth lab, his widow said
Duty Death: Trenton Halladay - [Provo, Utah]
End of Service: 07/22/2006
By Suzie Ziegler
PROVO, Utah — Officer Trenton Halladay spent years busting meth labs in the late 90s and early 2000s. Halladay’s service would ultimately cost him his life. In those days, his widow explains, officers didn’t call in hazmat teams.
“They would go in with little to no protection,” Lisa Halladay told KSL-TV on Wednesday. “[My husband] would always tell me, ‘That was a good lab because my throat burned for like three/four days.’”
Halladay was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and died six months later. He was 37.
According to Lisa, her husband’s doctors believed that exposure to carcinogens in meth labs had caused the cancer. Halladay’s death wasn’t considered in the line of duty, so Lisa missed out on memorials, commendations and government support, according to KSL-TV.
But Lisa believed her husband’s sacrifice deserved line-of-duty recognition. She wasn’t alone.
Brent Jex, the Utah FOP president, has personally seen many officers who worked in meth labs die from sudden onset cancer, the report said. He believes that more than a dozen Utah law enforcement officers have died from meth exposure-related cancers.
“The tragedy was no different than in any other line-of-duty death,” Jex told KSL-TV. “It’s seeking, really, that justice for the families, and for the agencies, and for the co-workers, and anybody that went into [the meth labs].”
Jex compared the scenario to 9/11 first responders, whose deaths are categorized as line-of-duty when they die from illnesses related to toxic exposure at Ground Zero, the report said.
For 16 years, the Utah FOP and Concerns of Police Survivors have fought to reclassify Halladay’s death. Last week, their efforts paid off.
Lisa and her two sons flew to Washington, D.C., to finally hear Halladay’s name at the annual Candlelight Vigil honoring fallen police officers. The family also visited the National Law Enforcement Memorial, where Halladay’s name is now engraved.
“He’s where he should be,” Lisa told KSL-TV. “He sacrificed. I feel like now he can rest in peace.”