Rapid Response: Disturbing audio of Md. LODDs contains 3 important reminders

Why we posted the recording of Deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon's last moments

What Happened: On February 10, a 68-year-old suspect fatally shot Harford County Sheriff's deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon at a Panera Bread restaurant and nearby apartment complex. This week, Harford County Law Department — with objections, in response to a Maryland Public Information Act request— released dash camera video that recorded part of that tragic incident.

The audio captures the sound of a brief but intense gunfight, followed by the sounds of deputies on the scene desperately attempting to save the life of the wounded Logsdon. Additional backup units are seen arriving to the location of this tragic incident as deputies heroically do everything in their power to keep Logsdon alive.

Top Takeaways: The audio is disturbing and difficult to stomach. We know as we listen that the outcome will be the line-of-duty death of yet another American hero who set out that day to protect the community he served. Like so many other videos that capture the murder of one of our officers, we vicariously suffer the pain experienced by the friends and family of these slain LEOs.

It prompted a lengthy discussion within our newsroom about first whether and second how to post the article. We knew some would object to its presence on the site due to the graphic nature of the audio (a suspicion that was subsequently confirmed by social media comments and emails).

We ultimately decided there was distinct training value in the video, primarily in an analysis of the response by fellow officers following the shooting. We cite often our duty to honor the fallen by teaching the living, and this video — as awful as it is to observe — offers three important reminders.

1. Communication during a gun battle can be as crucial as the marksmanship of the officers involved. The audio reveals how the deputies involved were clear and concise in their calls for cover and movement. Altogether too often we hear audio or see video in which communication under fire is less than optimal. In this instance, we observe excellent tactics among the officers.

2. Securing the scene is essential. You can hear one deputy calling out to another “Check on his vehicle” and seconds later another calling back “Vehicle is clear.” This is important as we have seen an increase in incidents of multiple attackers. As much as we might want to rush to begin first aid response, the area must be cleared so that an ambush on responders does not occur.

3. One individual takes charge of the effort to save Logsdon. He can be heard directing different individuals to “Roll him over” and “Take his vest off” and “Get some pressure there.” This is what PoliceOne Columnist Dick Fairburn calls “street leadership”, and it has nothing to do with rank. As additional resources begin to arrive, it is clear that someone has command of the scene, which can make all the difference no matter what the situation.

Why This Matters: The Maryland deputies slain in this incident were model law enforcement officers. Deputy Logsdon was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the Harford County Sheriff's Office for 16 years. He is survived by his wife, three children, and parents. Deputy Dailey was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Harford County Sheriff's Office for 30 years. He is survived by his two children and mother.

We’ve all endured training in which we must watch the 1998 murder of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller in Georgia and the 1991 murder of Darrell Lunsford in Texas. Those videos are disturbing, as is the one from Maryland in February 2016. At least in this case, we see valiant, heroic efforts on the part of the slain deputies colleagues’ doing things right.

One More Note: The death of a police officer is felt by the entire law enforcement community and can take a heavy toll. Take a look at our articles on how critical incident stress debriefing teams help cops in crisis, 6 proactive steps to maintaining officers' mental health and coping with line-of-duty death in law enforcement. Those links are below. Stay safe out there.

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