Another officer dead…close to my home.

By Chief Scott Hughes  |   Mar 22, 2020

Another bloody reminder that criminals don’t follow rules.

Last night at around 8:30PM I got a text message.
Then another. And another. And another. And another…

An onslaught of texts and phone calls continued for hours, building up to the devasting realization that a police officer was dead. Yet another member of our “blue family” had been killed in the line of duty.

The police have a unique way of spreading information to each other at lightning speed. Why? Because we’re family. When someone attacks one of us, we all know…fast. No one in this family fights alone!

This past Saturday night, Officer Kaia Grant of the Springdale (OH) Police Department was killed by Terry Blankenship, a 42-year-old fleeing a felony warrant. He was considered armed and dangerous and had threatened suicide by cop; a seriously bad guy who needed to be taken off the street. It appears that Blankenship intentionally slammed into Officer Grant while she and another officer were deploying Stop Sticks in an attempt to disable his truck and prevent him from endangering innocent people.

The tragic and painful loss of Officer Grant hammers home a bloody reminder: Criminals don’t follow rules. They never have, they never will. Yet during this massive public health crisis, what are so many people worried about? Criminals’ rights and keeping them out of jails to avoid infection risks. Heck, in some jurisdictions, we’re even letting criminals out.

Think about this for a minute. We’re pulling back on hours. We’re minimizing enforcement requirements. Our communities and our country are in a state of flux and anxiety. People are concerned. Some are flat out afraid. They feel vulnerable…and they are. What’s the last thing you do in a situation like this? Empower criminals who capitalize on vulnerability? Increase their opportunities to victimize? Release the wolves into the field of sheep? Not the way I see it.

Criminals will not respect social distancing. They don’t care about Governor’s orders, Presidential Task Force recommendations, or anything else meant to protect the general public. They are not worried about the general public. They will not self-quarantine until it’s time to report back to jail.

What about the rights of average Americans? You know…the non-criminal, social distancing, best-protocol-practicing, community-conscious citizens? What about protecting police officers on the front lines who are forced to continue doing their jobs—risking their own safety—protecting these citizens they swore to protect?

Most officers in this country have backed away from making contact for small things like “minor” traffic violations for fear of contracting COVID-19 and bringing it home to their families. I get it! But one thing they won’t do. They won’t stop going after the evildoers who will continue to inflict harm on innocent victims. These officers will uphold their oath to protect and sadly, some of them will continue getting hurt or killed.

With all the coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak, I worry about police officers and other first responders being forgotten. How do we properly recognize the sacrifice of an American hero like Officer Kaia Grant when we’re supposed to be six feet away from each other? This hero deserves the same recognition as those who paid the ultimate sacrifice before her. But, at what cost to the health of our officers and America? These are the deeply troubling questions we face.

RIP Officer Kaia Grant #2023
Springdale, Ohio Police
EOW: 3/21/2020