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25 years later: Police1 readers remember Deputy Kyle Dinkheller a quarter-century after his murder

There are moments in police history that can never be forgotten; January 12, 1998, is one of those moments


Photo/Laurens County Sheriff’s Office

By Police1 Staff

There are moments in police history that can never be forgotten. January 12, 1998, is one of those moments.

On that fateful Monday, Deputy Kyle Dinkheller, who was 22 years old at the time, was murdered after making a traffic stop in Laurens County, Georgia. The incident was caught on Dinkheller’s dash cam and that video has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of police recruits across the country ever since. The Kyle Dinkheller video is disturbing and difficult to watch, but officers have learned critical survival training lessons to ensure their safety throughout their police careers.

It has been 25 years since Dinkheller’s end of watch, but he has never been forgotten. Below, we gathered 25 responses from our Police1 Facebook readers to recognize this somber quarter-century anniversary. Hundreds of comments proved just how impactful Dinkheller’s murder was – a gut-wrenching reminder of the potential dangers law enforcement officers face every day. Today and every day, we remember Deputy Dinkheller and his ultimate sacrifice.

  1. “When we graduated the academy, our instructors showed us this video again. We were all confused as to why, because we were shown this video a dozen times before that. Except this time, Kyle’s father was standing at the back of the classroom and walked up when it was over. Gut-wrenching.” — Dylan Rucker

  2. “I saw this in the academy and I haven’t seen it since. I can still hear that scream.” — Andrew Willoughby

  3. “A civilian here. I watched it on my own and again through a citizen’s police academy. Just awful. I balled my eyes out. I don’t envy the extremely difficult jobs that LEOs have. Thank you to all who continue to serve or have served.” — Dodi Ann Durgin

  4. “We watched this in our academy class when we first started. One of my classmates left and never came back.” — Stonecold Stone

  5. “Yep. Saw it once. Can’t watch it again. Used that video as a reminder throughout my career. But that video could be credited for numerous officers’ survival.” — Chris Proctor

  6. “Twenty years ago, when I was sitting in the police academy ... all 120 pounds of me ... I was filled with fear and sadness (yes, in that order). I’m so glad that I didn’t collect my things and quit.” — Sarah Smith Lane

  7. “Watch the documentary. Should be mandatory viewing.” — Eddie Lawson

  8. “Watched this video at the academy, along with so many others. After playing a few videos, our instructors let us take a break. No one said a thing. We all just got up, walked out, took our five-minute break and came back into class. I still have trouble watching this one and others like it.” — Desiree Conn

  9. “I will never forget this video and the chills running down my spine.” — Bobby Ó Ceallaigh

  10. “The first time I saw the video ... years ago ... I couldn’t sleep that night. I live about 10 miles from the scene of this crime and my grandmother lives less than two miles away from the scene. I was a freshman in high school at the time. It was not a good time for the area for a while after that. Twenty-five years later, it is still shocking.” — Steve Foster

  11. “I have worn his wristband every day for about 20 years. To this day, I show his video to every new officer.” — Raymond Seiling

  12. “Something that not only every police academy should watch, but every chief and city council member.” — LC O’Neal

  13. ” We watched this in the academy. After the first time, we had a discussion. Then we had to watch it a second time. I couldn’t make it all the way through. A lot of us had to step outside. Once was enough. I’ll never forget it.” — Wes Young

  14. “I have seen it a few times. It always reminded me that there is no such thing as routine when you decide to pin a badge to your chest and swear to protect people.” — Jay McKeel

  15. “I was in the academy later that year and it seems like they made us go through that video a dozen times. More gut-wrenching every time you see it.” — Kyle Babcock

  16. “Every time I see just the still image of this dashcam, the audio starts playing instantly in my head.” — Mat Wilson

  17. “Watched this video many times. It made me look at my traffic stops a little different. I don’t watch it anymore, but it is a good training tool.” — Randy Little

  18. “I am sure we all hated watching this at police academies, but we needed to. Glad Officer Dinkheller is remembered and honored.” — George Deiters

  19. “I’m a retired NYPD detective. This is one of the saddest videos I have ever seen. I wanted to jump through the screen and help him. That video affected me for days. But there is so much that can be taught and learned from it. — Bobby Taylor

  20. “This happened weeks before my own academy class finished. The instructors hurried to get a copy of the video before we graduated as one last reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye. Very sad then. Very sad 25 years later.” — Brian James

  21. “This video and Kyle have saved more officers’ lives than any of the rest of us. His death saved hundreds and continues to. RIP brother.” — John Miller

  22. “Our classroom was silent after we watched this. It’s a sobering reminder of the reality of police work.” — Joshua Thomas

  23. “I will never forget seeing this video in training and the screams of terror that I heard. This is the most disturbing video I have ever seen. I could never imagine the fear he was in.” — Jenn Heinert

  24. “This video was shown on the first day of our academy. It scared a lot of people. Made a lot of people sad. It made me all of those things, as well as angry. I still get emotional thinking about it today. Rest in peace brother and may your sacrifice not be forgotten and serve as a learning moment in time.” — Matt Matt

  25. “I still have a hard time watching this. It needs to be shown to every single new recruit in the academy. Though tragic, we can learn so much from this. May he rest in peace.” — Adam Joseph

NEXT: ‘Dinkheller’ documentary tells the real story