Interview with Richard Blackburn – Trooper Coates’ killer

Interview with Trooper Coates’ killer and posting photos of cop killers

Over 20 years ago, Line of Duty produced one of its most enduring training
programs, “Interview with a Cop Killer”.

I went to South Carolina and interviewed Trooper Mark Coates’ murderer
Richard Blackburn at length. (PHOTO OF BLACKBURN. TAKE A FREEZE

According to Google – at summer of 2018,  it is still one of our most watched training programs ever.

It was, to my knowledge, the very first time a convicted cop killer had ever been
interviewed about his crime with the complete, horrific incident caught on cruiser

In fact, two cruiser cams.

He looked pathetic, lost and obese when the corrections officers brought him into
the interview room in a wheelchair at the (( )) where he was serving
a justifiable life-without-parole sentence. Believe me, there wasn’t a cop alive
in South Carolina who didn’t want to see Richard Blackburn executed long prior
to my interview with him.

Blackburn (to me) seemed to want to cooperate and did not dodge any question
I threw at him.

First, I asked what prompted him to ultimately explode in fury at Trooper Coates.

He said he initially felt put out, because Trooper Coates had picked his old
beater out for a speeding stop and yet, Blackburn claimed, there were other newer
model cars that had sped by faster than he was driving.

It’s an invaluable program, one that, I feel, truly tried to get into the psyche of a
cop killer, and, apparently, over the years many law enforcement officials agree,
because it has been watched and studied so very often. Still is.

Which gets me to my point.

When a Florence, SC officer was shot to death and several other cops were also
wounded earlier this week, I tried to stay on top of it and post every breaking

That included ultimately posting a photo of the officer’s alleged killer.

Plenty of you responded negatively and implored me to delete the subject’s photo.

You had a damned good reason, too. He’d just killed a great veteran officer and
seriously wounded several others. Why give him a scintilla of publicity?

I hear you, I do.

However, as a journalist who actually tries to provide as much fact as I can in a
major story, this man’s photo and background seemed to be critical to me.

Without his heinous actions, there would have been no story.

If the Chicago Tribune over 50 years ago didn’t publish the photo and background
of Richard Speck next to the student nurses he’d methodically murdered, it would have
been an unspeakable oversight.

When a cop is slain ITLOD, don’t you think it’s absolutely imperative to show his (or her)
photo and as much of his (or her) background humanly possible?

Don’t you want to try to learn from absolutely any aspect of the killer’s personality, background,
motive, or reasoning?

That, of course, includes his photograph or, perhaps, multiple photographs which can, often,
supplement just exactly who is this and why he did what he did.

20 years ago, if I’d provided only an audio interview with Richard Blackburn, wouldn’t you have
much rather SEEN this man, watched his expressions, studied his mannerisms, learned from
his physical machinations?

I absolutely think so.

Personally, I think it’s TRULY reprehensible when a media outlet does NOT provide photos and
as much descriptive information as possible about a cop shooter or cop killer.

I see that more and more often when the suspect is a minority, and I hate to say that, but it’s
the truth.

I choose the high ground and will always give you every iota of information on a cop killer,
including photos.

To me, we must learn from tragedy, and that should include learning all we can about the
perpetrators of life’s most horrific, horrendous events.

P.S. FYI, here’s a preview link to our interview with Richard Blackburn:

If you’re interested in the complete interview, please visit our online store at,
or e-mail or call 1(800)462-5232.

Always in officer safety,
Ron Barber
In the Line of Duty

Kyle Dinkheller’s Dad Doesn’t Give Up

When I first saw the cruiser cam video of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller’s murder, I had tears in my eyes. In fact, it was some years before I was able to watch the video without teary emotions and anguish.  So, I will never understand how those closest to Kyle have been able to keep it together over these last two decades.


Kyle Dinkheller came from a wonderful family. I know, because I interviewed several of them and was glad to call his grandfather and his dad friends.  His granddad is gone now, but his father, Kirk Dinkheller, is still beating the drums as hard as he can in support of officer safety.

Kirk was kind enough to respond to my request that he address several questions I had looking back on the 20 years since the murder of his son. 


I am pleased to share Kirk’s answers to my questions.

Kirk Dinkheller – Father

1. From your perspective, what changes have you seen that have been implemented by law enforcement since Kyle’s death?

One of the changes I have seen is a lot more training on the use of force. All the officers I have talked to tell me they take Kyle’s video and break it down frame-by-frame and learn from it. Kyle’s video is a great training aid.

2. What misconceptions have been discovered about Kyle that are important and should be noted?

The biggest misconceptions are that Kyle got in trouble a lot for pulling his weapon on stops and for being disrespectful. Everyone I have talked to said that never happened. I have watched all of Kyle’s traffic stops, and I can tell you the same thing. He was always courteous and respectful.

One situation came to light regarding a stop Kyle made when he was working a bad car accident on I-16 in Laurens County. He stopped a car that did not pull over for law enforcement going to the accident, for driving too fast for conditions and for disregarding the safety of the first responders. Kyle reprimanded the driver for his actions and wrote a ticket. Apparently the driver knew the sheriff and voiced a complaint. The sheriff required Kyle to write a letter of apology and hand deliver it to the driver in question. Kyle felt he had handled the situation correctly, and he had an issue with being required to apologize. Kyle reluctantly complied with the order to keep the peace and to protect his job. Some people, including myself, wonder if that situation may have caused Kyle to hesitate that day.

3. What would you as Kyle’s dad like the long-term impact of Kyle Dinkheller’s death to have on law enforcement?

I would hope the long term impact would be that all officers, new and old, watch Kyle’s video every six months, and (they) learn something new each time. Also, I would like officers to take training to heart, and remember to do their job right and go home at the end of their shift. That is all that matters. I want them to remember that no two traffic stops are the same. Even if one seems routine, officers need to approach all stops with the worst case scenario in mind.

4. Have you any stories from cops who have viewed the dash cam video of the murder of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller and, perhaps, and adjusted their own tactical approaches? Has the dash came video saved officers’ lives in your opinion?

I know Kyle’s video has saved a lot of officers’ lives. Re-training and re-watching the video can save lives. I have heard from many officers who have viewed the video and later been on a stop where something brought Kyle’s video to mind. Some officers have told me they encountered people who were out of the car and wanted to go back to their vehicle. Because of the Dinkheller video, they stopped the person from returning to the vehicle. One officer I talked to went back to the car for the person and found a gun. I have heard this kind of thing often through the years.

5. What do you feel are/should be the most important lessons as a result of Kyle Dinkheller’s murder?

I feel the most important lessons to learn (come) from Kyle’s mistakes on this stop. There is so much to learn. I know Kyle never thought this stop would turn out the way it did, and he was giving the guy every opportunity to give up and go on with life. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I would love for everyone to take training to heart and remember this video. Kyle met the devil that day, and he wasn’t ready to meet the devil. I hope everyone learns from the video so when they meet the devil, they are ready. I will continue to go around the country showing Kyle’s video and talking about him in hopes that it help law enforcement officers stay safe and go home at night.

Thanks to his dad, friends and family, thanks to great trainers and teachers, Kyle Dinkheller
continues to give back in death much, much more than most do in a lifetime.

A bittersweet, yet powerful truth imho.

For those of you unfamiliar with our training program on ‘The Murder of Deputy Dinkheller’, here’s a preview.  Order via our online store, or e-mail us at

Be looking for my upcoming blog on a high-risk felony stop of a suspected mass killer
that turned out to be more like a scene from Smokey and the Bandit.

Thanks for joining me!
Ron Barber | Line Of Duty

Kyle Dinkheller – 20 Years After Ambush

From The Desk Of Ron Barber:

20 years ago, when I produced the Kyle Dinkheller training video, I knew it had the potential to have a dramatic role in enhancing police officer safety for many years to come.  The murder of Deputy Dinkheller had had a profound, lasting effect on his fellow officers at the Laurens County(GA) SO. When I came down there with a camera crew, it was obvious to me that Kyle was loved by his peers, family and area citizens and had been caught up in a horrific situation.

Related imageI’m no expert, but it certainly seemed that many of the officers I interviewed were suffering PTSD. I’ve often wondered if they ever got any real help in the intervening years.  Even the department’s chaplain (a wonderful man) was still in pain and spoke so highly of ride-alongs he’d done with Deputy Dinkheller, in which Kyle had spoken of his belief in God and had probed the chaplain for his wisdom and guidance.

It was because of the Deputy Dinkheller video we ultimately produced a training program specifically for chaplains, ‘Police Chaplains/When a Cop Dies’.  I recall asking the chaplain what HE did for support, and he said that he had gone to other chaplains, and that had been a somewhat healing balm for him.  Meanwhile, the training program Line of Duty produced on the murder of Kyle Dinkheller began taking on a life of its own.


The Dinkheller video then and now elicits almost primordial emotions in many officers who have seen it and learned from it.

The seemingly interminable amount of time that elapsed as Andrew Brannan retrieved a rifle from his truck and began systematically executing Kyle affects absolutely anyone with a heart or soul.  “Shoot him, shoot the son of a bitch!” cops exhort every time they see the video for the first time. Let me add, too, they are, often, screaming at the video at the top of their lungs, although, of course, nothing can be done to change the facts.

After all these years, I am very proud to say that, in a way, I feel like Kyle was a friend, a damned good friend. I can’t even begin to imagine the grief and anguish his fellow officers, family and friends must still feel.

“Two decades later, a traffic stop out on a country road is still teaching police officers about deadly force — and the heavy costs of hesitation.”

A year or two ago, I received a call from a CNN reporter wanting to talk to me about the Dinkheller murder and, most specifically, the Line of Duty program on the Murder of a Georgia Deputy.  My gut instincts told me to have nothing to do with anything CNN, which I have long regarded as the most callous, ultra-liberal, cop hating network existent.  So, I recommended to Kirk Dinkheller, Kyle’s dad, that he, too, turn down any feelers from them.  We both passed on any dealings with CNN and thought the matter had ended.  Then, several months after our conversations, CNN came out with the article “The Trigger and the Choice”.  Somehow, the reporter, Thomas Lake, had gotten access to the Line of Duty video on Kyle Dinkheller and had also gotten approval to cover a large police training session where the program was shown.

Mr. Lake prefaced it by saying “Two decades later, a traffic stop on a country road is still teaching police officers about deadly force–and the cost of hesitation”.

He wrote a hell of an article, and I made it a point to contact him after it had been published and apologize for my qualms about cooperating with him.

I am also asking all you trainers and law enforcement educators to consider our Line of Duty program “The Murder of a Georgia Deputy” for your classes and in-service training, if you haven’t already.

I urge every trainer & officer’s family to read this article at CNN.

Like Kyle’s dad Kirk, who has become a good friend, I want to play any role possible in ensuring Kyle did not die in vain. It’s a painful and poignant reminder that there are still highly relevant lessons learned these many years later.

Meantime, I’m going to have Part II of the Kyle Dinkheller Training Video blog soon.

It’ll include absolutely vital information from Kirk Dinkheller on exactly that impact he feels the death of his son has had and continues to have.

Also, I’ll have an interview with ex-Atlanta cop Patrick Savage, who has, on his own dime, put together an 88-minute documentary on the murder of Kyle, a documentary soon to be released nationwide.

In officer safety and respect—
Ron Barber
In the Line of Duty

Men subdued who had attacked Michigan State Police trooper

Updating + photo of trooper:…/heroes-saved-michigan-stat…/98204794/

Two Good Sams help veteran MI state trooper in groundfight with punk ass who’d stolen motorcycle and, then, scumbag’s brother also jumps into fracas.

Photos of two dirtbags via this link:…/Michigan-State-Trooper-attacked-durin…

Pair of brothers from Indiana held in Berrien County after assault
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