Police honor three with medals of valor for response in active shooter situation
–Earlier this week, Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis presented Dispatcher McKinley, Sgt Lehr, and Battalion Chief Harris with medals of valor for their heroic actions in response to the active shooter situation that occurred in Paso Robles in June.
In the early morning hours of June 10, 2020, Dispatcher McKinley was working as a solo dispatcher, when she was monitoring the security camera footage surrounding the station and noticed a subject outside the police department with a firearm. Dispatcher McKinley alerted officers of the suspect’s location around the station. Dispatcher McKinley had the forethought to notify the Paso Robles Fire Department, who was headed back to the station after a call for service, advising them to stay away from the Public Safety Center. Although she may not have known it at the time, she undoubtedly saved the lives of our Fire personnel. Dispatcher McKinley, certainly rattled by the attack on our station, kept her composure and immediately tracked the subject on camera, updating officers with the shooter’s location.
At 0425 hours, she would hear the most chilling words any law enforcement officer or dispatcher will ever hear cracked over the radio, “Officer Down.” As units on the scene attempted to find a way to safely rescue Deputy Dreyfus, who had been shot, a SLOSO deputy reported a white truck was approaching the location of the downed officer. Unbeknownst to anyone, the driver of the truck was Sergeant Lehr, who was answering the call for help.
Sergeant Lehr later recalled hearing gunshots coming from his directions as he drove south on Riverside toward the wounded deputy. Sergeant Lehr continued through the sounds of gunfire, where he contacted Deputy Pacas and a wounded Deputy Dreyfus. Wearing only sweatpants, sandals, and a t-shift, Sergeant Lehr selflessly jumped into action to save Deputy Dreyfus. As a United States Marine, Sergeant Lehr never contemplated his own safety. Sergeant Lehr removed his own shirt and immediately applied pressure to Deputy Dreyfus’ wound. Sergeant Lehr understood the need to immediately remove Deputy Dreyfus from the scene and used the deputy’s radio to help coordinate incoming medical units.
Simultaneously, while in the area and scanning the police department radio traffic, Battalion Chief Harris jumped into action as well. With an ambulance and fire engine staged for deployment at the fairgrounds, Battalion Chief Harris planned an extraction with his SUV to get Deputy Dreyfus the most immediate care possible. Without regard for his own safety, Battalion Chief Harris drove into the unsecured area, where he and Sergeant Lehr placed a bleeding Deputy Dreyfus into the SUV. At this time, the current location of the shooter was unknown. Battalion Chief Harris’ heroic, selfless, actions allowed him to get Deputy Dreyfus to safety, where life-saving medical attention could be obtained.
For these reasons, Dispatcher McKinley was awarded the bronze medal of valor, Battalion Chief Harris was awarded the citizen of valor award, and Sergeant Lehr was awarded with the department’s highest honor, the gold medal of valor.
Photos and information from Paso Robles Police Department’s Facebook page. Click here to follow.