Remember fallen LEOs by continuing their legacy of heroism, integrity and valor

A memorial address for Ohio LEOs – Detective Jorge Del Rio and Officer Kaia Grant – is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifices of our police heroes


The following address was delivered by Kathy Platoni, Psy.D., DAAPM, FAIS, on September 27, 2021, during the Montgomery County (Ohio) Police Memorial in 2021. During the memorial, every officer who died in the line of duty in Montgomery County is honored, dating back to 1860. We share these words of remembrance in honor of our fallen law enforcement heroes and as we recognize National Police Week. Email Dr. Platoni for a copy of the full address.

Their lights shined so brightly for all the days during which they served. Dark days have consumed the communities of Dayton and Springdale with the terrible losses of two of their finest, Detective Jorge Del Rio, Dayton Police Department, and Officer Kaia Grant, Springdale Police Department. Their valiant mark on the law enforcement community remains etched forever on the minds of those left behind to carry on in the finest traditions of police work and for those to whom they will always remain beloved. 

They gave their lives to keep us safe and to protect the citizenry from harm; in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, “with the last full measure of devotion.” [1] There simply is no greater sacrifice on American soil, on any soil. These are incalculable losses. It is incumbent upon us to continue their legacy of heroism, integrity and valor and never to forget their noble and courageous deeds that must be engraved upon the collective memory of those left to carry on in their absence.

End of Watch for Detective JOrge Del Rio, November 7, 2019

Detective Jorge Del Rio
Detective Jorge Del Rio (ODMP)

Detective Del Rio served with the Dayton Police Department for 30 years and with the DEA Task Force for 18 years. Fatally shot in the line of duty while serving a search warrant with the DEA task force on November 4th, 2019, he made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, remaining on life support for four days so that his organs could be donated before succumbing to his injuries. This final life-saving act was the culmination of a career of dedication to saving others from the ravishing and perilous effects of lethal drugs and other crimes against humanity. [2]

Detective Kevin Phillips, his longtime friend and colleague, described Detective Del Rio as “such a jovial person with an infectious personality that spilled out all over the place.” [3] During his 30-year career, his expertise enabled him to tackle the immense battleground of drug trafficking, in which he achieved the highest level of all possible noble deeds, to rid this community of a plague upon its citizens, without reluctance in facing tremendous risk and always with exemplary performance.

In the words of Chief Richard Biehl, the bearing of his work reached not just the City of Dayton, but far beyond the borders of this nation. “He was just that good at what he did. He was a rock and the most noble and selfless of public servants.” [2] His passing has left behind a brokenhearted department and an entire community to grieve his loss and to cherish him in their memories.

We pay tribute today to Detective Del Rio’s beloved family in their time of bereavement: his wife, Kathy Del Rio, daughters, Ariel Del Rio Busch (Steven), Erica Hampton (Devin), Veronica Del Rio and Naya Del Rio; granddaughters, Aliyah Shafeek, Luna Hampton and Santana Busch, as well as the entirety of the Dayton Police Department for a loss that remains immeasurable.

End of Watch for Officer Kaia Grant, March 21, 2020

Officer Kaia Grant
Officer Kaia Grant (ODMP)

Officer Kaia Grant was only 33 years old when she gave her life in the line of duty on March 21, 2020, serving on the force for 7½ years.

As a graduate of the College of William and Mary, Officer Grant initially supervised an after-school program for children in the City of Cincinnati at the time of her hiring. In the words of Chief of Police Thomas Wells, “Officer Grant was a police officer for all seasons, representing everyone who has ever worn the uniform of the thin blue line.“ [4]

She performed her job to serve others; to every one of you, every day, exemplifying the very best of what police officers bring to the banquet table of public service. She was “the kind of officer who both generated and elevated the public trust with an uncanny ability to bring resolution to the unresolvable and with the capacity to communicate without barriers to earn the faith and confidence of the community at large, regardless of gender or ethnicity or position. Everyone gravitated towards her, that magnetic Officer Grant; so much so, that in the hearts and minds and souls of her fellow officers of the Springdale Police Department, she still stands and walks among them.” [4]

Officer Grant leaves behind her cherished family; her father, Kevin Grant, of Conyers, Georgia; her mother, Gina Mobley of Wyoming, Ohio; and her two adoring brothers, Kendall and Kellen Grant. Said Chief Wells of the Springdale Police Department, “Let the bond forged by tragedy sustain us in these times of great sadness to create healing through Officer Grant’s family, both blood and blue.” [4]

We must pay homage to selfless souls

I first learned what it truly meant to be a first responder on November 5, 2009, when in the face of a hail of gunfire and as horror unfolded at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, those of us in uniform ran directly into danger and toward the shooting in progress. This was the Fort Hood massacre when life as I once knew it came to a final end. It was Civilian Police Officers Kimberly Munley and SGT Mark Todd who apprehended the assassin and thwarted far greater losses than the 13 innocent souls who lost their lives in the process of readying for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. SGT Munley sustained three gunshot wounds in the process when her service weapon jammed. This is what unparalleled courage and heroism look like.

We must be entrusted to pay homage to those selfless souls who have stood so bravely in the face of mortal danger, unafraid to rush headlong into all things perilous, and willing to make that ultimate and greatest sacrifice of all without any degree of reluctance. It is every police officer that must come to know that when disaster and catastrophe strike, their lives matter.

When the remnants of their funerals are left to sweep, we must take note of the ultimate sacrifices and the giving of one’s life for those sworn to defend and protect our citizenry and the communities they serve. The seminal question to be asked of those who can no longer answer for themselves, is this: “Was it worth dying for?” Are we as a community worth the price of their very lives? What would those who have lost their lives say if they could answer? Are we the community you imagined, you dreamed that you would protect and defend when you left home for the last time and when you took your last breath?” [5]

There is a requisite, perpetual and everlasting purpose that must make their lives worth surrendering and that intention is this: that we become unfailing in our respect of the men and women who comprise the thin blue line as they perform their sworn duties and that we are grateful in our hearts for the fact that they pin on their badges and kiss their families goodbye at every shift, never knowing if this is the day before their names will not answer at the next roll call.

Never forget that it is the police officer who dares to be great, in the face of merciless criticism and denigration, but never fails to rise above and to serve with honor, professionalism, dignity and decency without fail. Without them, we in this nation cannot be safe. The loss of one of these precious souls is far too many.

As Detective Del Rio and Officer Grant devoted their lives, seeking to build community and not destroy it, they promoted the time-honored legacy of the willingness to lay down their lives in the call of duty. Their enduring legacy of service and sacrifice will remain the everlasting brickwork of the thin blue line. The many thousands of men and women who encompass the thin blue line would gladly lay down their lives for their brothers and sisters in blue, standing watch together to separate the prey from the predator and the evil from the good. “Blessed are the peacemakers who embody this, for they will be called the true children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

References

1. The Gettysburg Address.

2. Biehl R. (n.d.) Personal communication. Retrieved September 11, 2021.

3. Phillips K. (n.d.) Personal communication. Retrieved August 24, 2021.

4. Wells T. (n.d.) Personal communication. Retrieved August 29, 2021. (2021).

5. Memorial Day: A History of Sacrifice.

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