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Criminal Justice Update

A letter from Dave Yost: Police officer proves negative stereotype wrong

6/11/2021
Officer Kaia Grant of the Springdale Police Department was killed on the job in March 2020.

To this day, you can find photos she posted on the social media site Flickr. They serve as a window into the way the budding photographer viewed the world.

There are romping dogs, nature scenes and a number of pictures she took in Yellow Springs during a visit with her mentor, Detective Ritchy Tuazon, a fellow Springdale officer and professional photographer. These street scenes each tell a story, and, in one of the most striking, Officer Grant found beauty in an old stairwell and a pair of dirty Crocs.

Officer Grant saw the good in things, and people, that others might overlook.

She majored in politics and economics at William & Mary University in Virginia and had an endless love of adventure. She went into policing to serve her community but didn’t like to write traffic tickets.

And she also may have been a bit na├»ve about the nature of evil when taking the job — I’m sure she is not alone. You see, her primary aim was to help people in need.

Contrast Officer Grant with the disparaging image of law enforcement officers splashed around by some these days. She doesn’t fit the narrative. The vast majority of law enforcement officers do not.

She brought joy to the people she knew and a helping hand to community members and crime victims. And she had a bright future stolen when a rampaging driver targeted her as she went to put out tire-deflation devices.

We must never forget Officer Grant, just as we should always remember Sgt. Brian Dulle, a 12-year veteran of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and a married father of three who was struck and killed by a fleeing driver dodging stop sticks in 2011.

And Officer Ralph Miller of the Toronto Police Department, a World War II veteran and grandfather who was killed in 1978 by a driver who rammed the roadblock the officer had set up.

And Marshal Teddy Ray Holcomb of the Trimble Police Department, a married 29-year-old who was killed the same way in 1976, after reporting to help out even though he was off-duty.

The courage and dedication these officers showed forever tie them to Officer Grant, and to Cpl. Adam McMillan, Detective James Skernivitz, Officer Anthony Dia and the three other officers honored at this year’s Ohio Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony, held in early May.

The Christian philosopher and novelist C.S Lewis said: “Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”

We must hold up our stories of courage in the face of evil, especially when they come at such a tremendous cost. We must hold up our fallen officers.

Yours,

Dave Yost
Ohio Attorney General