KYLE DINKHELLER’S DAD STILL TRYING TO HELP COPS
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.
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.
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.
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.
A bittersweet, yet powerful truth imho.
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