Remarks in Memory of Detective Jorge R. Del Rio, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

By Richard S. Biehl, Police Chief (RET)

*This is an article from the Spring 2022 issue of Combat Stress

Funeral for Detective George Del Rio, killed in the Line of Duty

There are no words… no words to adequately explain the depth of our loss or the magnitude of our sorrow at the death of our colleague, Jorge Del Rio. It is even more so for his wife, Kathy, their daughters, grandchildren, other family members, friends, neighbors and the many others whose lives he touched.

AND, there are no words to adequately convey his love of life, family, friends, or the dedication to his law enforcement career and to the service to our community, state, and country.

But to not make a valiant attempt to find such words would lack courage, tenacity and compassion, the very traits that Detective Jorge Del Rio exuded.

So, we must try to find them. Others have just done so. I too will try to find the words to do so, although even in their ultimate inadequacy to convey the profound matters of the heart, it matters a great deal.

It matters a great deal to acknowledge the life and sacrifice of Detective Del Rio. Jorge served with honor and valor for three decades. He served his family, his community and his nation. He served in a manner with which he could be counted upon to perform at the highest level of dedication and professionalism. He served as a teacher and coached dozens of other detectives in the art of investigation. He served as a teammate, never hesitating to step away from his own work to help his friends and his co-workers.

In his final act as a Dayton Police Detective and as an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, he served on a team to remove a massive quantity of deadly narcotics from our community. In doing so, he moved unhesitatingly towards danger and made the greatest sacrifice possible within the nobility of the law enforcement profession. He acted with great courage, heart, commitment and dedication as he had done throughout his career.

In doing so, Jorge, along with his law enforcement partners, also acted to prevent the mass casualties within and beyond our community that would have inevitably occurred if the large quantities of toxic drugs that had been amassed been allowed to hit the streets of our communities.

Jorge’s selfless action and his ultimate sacrifice is reminiscent of what Abraham Lincoln called the “last full measure of devotion.” And it is incumbent upon us, particularly his colleagues and fellow law enforcement officers, to act as Lincoln advocated by taking “increased devotion to that cause for which (Jorge) gave the last full measure of devotion.”

Detective Del Rio not only served to advance the nobility of his profession, he served to bring people together. His warm and generous spirit touched everyone he knew. His colleagues describe him as a dedicated family man. When he was not at work, he was with his family. When he was at work, he spoke fondly about his family. He spoke with great pride about his daughters and with great love for his wife, Kathy.

He was also known to love food and insisted upon eating, “like a civilized person.” He rejected a more typical cop diet of fast food from drive through windows. Jorge preferred to sit at tables in restaurants and often invited colleagues from all parts of his professional life to dine together. He brought people together. When those people sat for meals, they forged friendships and strong working relationships. Jorge served to create community.

His light shined brightly throughout his 30-year career during which his expertise in drug enforcement took him beyond the Dayton City limits, beyond the borders of Ohio and had effect beyond the borders of the United States. His valor took him into the vast arena of combating illicit drug trafficking, the arena of great causes in life, and he did so, as expressed by the words of Teddy Roosevelt: “while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Detective Del Rio spent his entire career in the gritty arena of law enforcement while daring greatly. His exemplary performance is defined by great achievements not known by timid souls. He left a legacy of service and sacrifice to this noble profession that is rare even among the best of us.

Our hearts are broken but fixed on the great task before us; that we may follow with increased devotion to honor his life, his courage, his persistence and his compassion. While there are truly no adequate words to honor Jorge Del Rio’s service and sacrifice, the following video, with its images, music and words, approaches the honor which is so justly deserved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5mgu00ZAfY

In closing, I offer the following wish for blessings to Detective Jorge Del Rio, his family, friends, all those whose lives he touched, and for the men and women who have shared with him the indestructible fabric of the thin blue line:

May you be safe and free from harm.

May you be at peace.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richard Biehl is the former Director and Chief of Police of the Dayton Police Department. He was appointed to this position by City Manager Rashad Young on January 28, 2008, and retired on July 30, 2021, after spending 13+ years as Chief of Police and nearly 43 years in public and community service.

Chief Biehl served 24+ years as a Cincinnati Police Officer and for the last six years of his Cincinnati career as an Assistant Police Chief. He commanded both the Investigations Bureau and the Administration Bureau. His principle areas of responsibility included Internal Investigations, Planning & Special Projects, Youth Services, Criminal Investigation, General Vice Control, and Intelligence.

In February 2004, he was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Community Police Partnering Center, a private nonprofit organization. Created in the aftermath of the civil unrest of 2001, the Partnering Center was established to work in partnership with the Cincinnati Police Department to train community stakeholders in problem solving methodologies to address community crime and disorder problems. In addition to leading many neighborhood crime reduction initiatives, in 2006 while Executive Director, Richard Biehl led the implementation of CeaseFire Cincinnati, a neighborhood gun violence reduction initiative using a public health approach for violence reduction modeled after CeaseFire Chicago and which led to reduced violence in the Avondale community.

As Police Chief for the Dayton Police Department, Chief Biehl partnered with the Trotwood Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in 2008 to support community engagement in the Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence (CIRGV), a gun violence reduction initiative modeled after the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, which resulted in reduction of group-related homicides in Dayton and surrounding communities.

Under his leadership, the Dayton Police Department received the following professional recognition:

  • Finalist for the 2010, 2011, & 2015 Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem Oriented Policing.
  • Recipient of the 2011 Ohio Crime Prevention Association’s Special Project Award.
  • Recipient of the International Association Chiefs of Police Cisco Community Policing Award, 2011 and 2015.
  • Chief Biehl was the 2011 recipient of the OACP (Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police) Chief Michael Kelly Excellence and Innovation in Policing Award and also the recipient of the 2014 Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau Ambassadors Award for bringing the International Problem Oriented Policing Conference to Dayton in October 2013.
  • In September 2019, President Trump awarded the Department of Justice Medal of Valor to Sergeant William Chad Knight and officers Brian Rolfes, Jeremy Campbell, Vincent Carter, Ryan Nabel and David Denlinger for their quick, decisive, and courageous engagement of the Oregon District mass shooting assailant, ending the tragic onslaught in 32 seconds.
  • In October 2019 at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference, President Donald Trump asked Chief Biehl and Assistant Chief Matt Carper to join him on stage in recognition of the brave acts of the six members of the Dayton Police Department that responded to the Oregon District mass shooting.

Chief Biehl was a former competitive powerlifter and martial artist and his athletic pursuits included regional, national, and international sporting events spanning 1976 to 1992.

Nearly 30 years ago, Chief Biehl began to practice yoga as a means to emerge from two years of chronic depression. In 2015, Chief Biehl authored the chapter, Trauma in the Theater of the Body, that was published in the book, Moving Consciously: Somatic Transformation through Dance, Yoga, and Touch (2015), and which discusses the potential of yoga to mitigate and heal trauma. In 2020, Chief Biehl completed a master’s degree in Mindfulness Studies at Lesley University. He has presented an introduction to mindfulness practice to several conferences and local workshops. He incorporates mindfulness within this yoga teaching.

 

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