We see the uniform, we see the badge, and we probably notice the gun they carry. But as with nearly any situation or group of people, there is much more than meets the eye.
Have you looked at the face of the man or woman who wakes up every day and makes a decision to protect perfect strangers?
If you look at a bodycam video of Dayton Officer Thadeu Holloway, you would see blood dripping onto the camera lens from a gunshot wound on the side of his head after he was shot by a fraud suspect (an incident occurring in September of 2021 that resulted in Officer Holloway being recognized nationally for exemplary policing work).
If you listen to the audio from that scene, you would hear Officer Holloway communicating with innocent bystanders, telling them to stay where they were because the suspect still had a gun--and then thanking them for being cooperative. You would hear Officer Holloway refuse to leave to get needed medical attention because the scene needed to be secured and the suspect needed first aid as well.
Sure, you might say, “That was all over the news and that’s only one officer and one incident.”
There are more…Do you know about Officer Hargraves, who plucked a distressed man from the edge a bridge, preventing him from jumping? How about Officers Ishmael and Wiesman, who were first to arrive on a fire scene and found a frantic mother whose baby was still inside the burning building? They went inside the home, guided by the mother, and rescued the child from a certain death.
Then there’s Officer Olinger, who saved a trapped car accident victim’s life by putting a tourniquet on his badly damaged arm, giving firefighters time to carefully remove the man from the twisted vehicle. You should also know about Officers Murphy and Urekar, who put a woman in their cruiser and rushed her to the hospital when her EpiPen wasn’t alleviating a serious allergic reaction. Oh, and they made sure her car got to the hospital, so it was there when she was released.
And though there was no media coverage, please be aware that Officer Webster apprehended a man moments after he tried to kidnap a woman at gunpoint, and that Officers Speelman and Betsinger helped a mom get her autistic teenager home safely and then retrieved her keys from a roof, where the teen had thrown them.
Then there are the detectives who spend years on investigating and bringing cases to trial, such as Detective Dulaney, who worked to bring justice to a number of scammers who took advantage of residents after the tornadoes of 2019. Or how about Detective Phillips who worked tirelessly to put a drug dealer responsible for four overdose deaths in prison?
In 2021, more than 40 Dayton officers (and some civilians) worked together as a team on a gun reduction initiative, succeeding in removing more than 100 guns from our streets and making 191 felony arrests. The efforts were targeted at those taking part in the most violent crimes.
These law enforcement professionals didn’t know any of the people they saved or helped or sought justice for. They don’t put on the badge for recognition, and they don’t carry a gun because they want to use it. I hope when you see the badge, you will also see the face of the man or woman who wakes up every morning and makes a decision to protect perfect strangers.
When recruiting new officers, the Dayton Police Department seeks people who value fairness and service above all else. We’re looking for recruits now; the application period ends July 31. The potential for job specialization and growth toward leadership positions is plentiful—recruits are sometimes surprised by the scope of skills and interests that police work can involve. I encourage anyone interested to look into this opportunity. Information is available at joindaytonpd.com.