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Woman in Utah befriends arresting officer after they become neighbors

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Posted at 11:44 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 13:44:14-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — One of the most recognizable faces in law enforcement in the state of Utah is Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Whether it's briefing the public or the press on incidents, Cannon always responds at a moment's notice when news breaks in Utah County.

In his decorated career in law enforcement, he has been involved in a lot of incidents. Still, in particular, one is being highlighted now because of a Facebook post from an unlikely source.

In December 2008, Jessica Butterfield was pulled over and arrested by Cannon with warrants out for her arrest.

"So, I was 18 years old when I was arrested,” Butterfield said. “I spent a night in jail. At the time, he didn’t know it, but I was an active heroin user and addicted to that.”

Butterfield admits that she was in a dark time when Cannon arrested her, “He was just doing his job he was doing his best obviously I had warrants and needed to go to jail, and I look back and think maybe something worse would have happened that night had he not arrested me.”

Over the next several years, Butterfield fought hard to get clean, and with a support system, she was able to break her addiction and is now 10 years sober.

“It was a hard time in life… obviously, addiction isn’t a good life to live,” she says.

Butterfield is now living a happy life with her husband and kids, but then came the neighbors next door.

Cannon had moved in right next door to Butterfield and her family, and the two were happy neighbors with their kids and grandkids playing together.

“We move in, and we say 'Oh, we have nice neighbors,” Cannon said. “I didn’t remember, and she didn’t remember, but she discovered that I was her arresting officer.”

While it may have never been something either would have thought could have happened 10 years earlier, the two now laugh about the crazy coincidence.

“She’s a great neighbor, and it's just so incredible to be able to say that about someone I took to jail once upon a time,” Cannon said.

While for them it seems like an amazing story that either of them would've never predicted, others see it as a symbol of hope.

Jessica Butterfield posted their story on Facebook, and, instantly, many started commenting about how her recovery story gave them hope.

“I thought a few family and friends would share it and get some laughs out of it. I never expected it to reach so many people,” Butterfield said.

“In reading the responses to the post that she did and that we shared so many others—hundreds of others—have shared and seen what they said, saying 'I’ve been clean 10 years," Cannon added.

Ultimately, both agree that they want this story to be told so others can see it and share that those in the darkest places can find the light.

“Now we have a friendship, and we will continue to be neighbors, and my kids can play with his grandkids and have fun," she said. “I think it's really cool that we can share this with people, and I like that we did meet when you arrested me because I just want to show others that, hey, life is good.”

Spencer Joseph at KSTU first reported this story.