COLUMBUS (WCMH)–The six officers who stopped the Oregon District shooter in Dayton, Ohio in August were honored by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association (OPAA). The men dressed in suits smiled, fidgeted, and politely walked to the stage when their names were called.
The men told me they were not comfortable talking about themselves in any way. They were typical of police officers I have met in my 26 years of journalism. They stood tall, shook hands firmly, replied to people with “sir” and “ma’am.” A sense of humility emanated from each one.
Dayton officers honored:
- Sgt. William Knight
- Jeremy Campbell
- Vincent Carter
- David Denlinger
- Ryan Nabel
- Brian Rolfe
The sergeant of the group spoke briefly with television reporters, but his police chief cut it off after a couple of minutes.
“I thank God every day I have the guys that I have with me right now,” Sgt. W. Chad Knight said from the podium after accepting the plaque. “They’re the best in the world.”
A few people were more than willing to talk about who the officers are, including Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck and the OPAA Executive Director Louis Tobin. Heck nominated the officers for the honor of Officer of the Year. One other person was willing to talk: Sgt. Knight’s wife, who did not want us to use her voice or picture for safety reasons.
“He’s a good guy,” was the first thing Mrs. Knight said. “He started his adult life in the military, in the Marine Corps.”
During the conversation, she explained that Sgt. Knight loves to help people, which is why he joined the military then became a police officer. Deep down, she explained that he has a fantastic sense of humor and is always laughing. This was evident while the television stations were interviewing him. There were numerous outbursts of laughter.
“He is always ready with a joke,” Mrs. Knight said with a crack in her voice as her eyes peered towards the gaggle of television reporters where her husband stood. “He has a serious side, but he has a way of making hard things easier.”
Some of the hard things are the memories from August 4 in the Oregon District where Knight and the other five officers honored stopped the gunman–in less than 60 seconds--from killing more than the nine victims who lost their lives. Mrs. Knight explained that his career is more than that fateful summer night.
“He has seen a bunch of different things in his 20 years there,” she said. “The hard things are things he would like to fix. When we do talk about it’s, ‘In what way can we make it better? In what way can we fix it?’ He comes at it with a positive perspective.”
It was at this point during the conversation that Sgt. Knight walked by me and his spouse and courteously said to his wife, “Let’s go when you get a chance.”
Prosecutors and staff from 77 counties were on hand to witness the officers receive their plaques.