Sheepdogs – Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Speaks in Viral Post

 In Domestic

One post from Las Vegas Metro Police Officer J Van Dyke went viral on October 2 after he returned from an 18.5 hour shift. It has over 99,000 shares and 21,000 comments. His thoughts from that night are heart-wrenching, but filled with the truth about what happens in the midst of a major incident full of chaos and confusion. He describes himself and his fellow first responders as “sheepdogs,” a fitting picture for officers – and even citizens – who ran toward danger in the middle of chaos. His post is here, with excerpts below:

Excerpts:

“Whoever this was, he outguns us”

“Hearing gun shots on the radio while my partners were asking for help, knowing you are still miles away, is nothing that any cop wants to ever experience. On arrival we moved in on foot, still not knowing where the shots were coming from. Learning vague details from numerous panicked 911 callers… some of them saying there were multiple shooters in the Tropicana Hotel, New York New York Hotel, Mirage Hotel, Paris Hotel… the ongoing radio traffic about more victims being found, more shots being fired… Even that didn’t compete with the faces of people running away. The citizens and tourists we all swore to protect, running for their lives, hoping that we could give them a miracle… 

Frustration

…And of course the frustration we get when people question you… “Why do I have to leave?” “But my hotel is that way.” “Why are you yelling at me to put my hands up? That’s not very nice.” “Why are you pointing rifles at me? That’s scary.” … Some don’t know or understand the magnitude of what is unfolding. Now the most deadly active shooter incident in modern American history, and I try to save your life and rush you to safety, and the Sheepdogs, herding the sheep to safety, are criticized for their “aggression.” But all those negatives are forgotten when you find a crying, terrified family sheltered in place inside a bathroom stall. When you get to guide a horrified mother and her crying child to safety…

Bravery, Courage

…The bravery and courage of first responders that only we get to witness and fully understand. The fact that one of my coworkers was on vacation tonight, heard what was happening, and suited up at home and came with us to fight the wolf. In my 12-man unit, only 9 of us were “on duty” – the other 3 came from home when they heard what was unfolding. At the end of the day, we fight side by side, and we go in together. Unfortunately, we don’t always all make it out, and today, an LVMPD police officer who was off duty attending the concert, was among those who tragically did not make it out of the festival alive. Today I will honor that Officer, along with the more than 50 people who died. Today I will think of their families and friends, who now have to learn how to go on without their loved one…”

Off-duty Officer Charleston Hartfield was killed in the Las Vegas shooting. Rest In Peace, Sir.

“Let’s come together as a UNITED nation, and honor the victims and their families. Let’s come together as a UNITED nation and honor the first responders who worked incredibly long and stressful shifts, without food, water, or even bathroom breaks. If you wonder how cops view the communities they police, consider the fact that so many of them came in today, off duty, to help. Not because it’s a job, but because it’s their calling. It’s who they are.” Officer J Van Dyke, LVMPD

Thank you to all those “sheepdogs” who ran toward the sound of gunfire in Las Vegas on October 1st, 2017.

*****

Featured photo “Sheepdogs”:  Strike Teams 4 and 9, Las Vegas Metro PD Northeast Area Command – photo used by permission of Officer Van Dyke

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