Officers from across the city rushed to south Wichita on Tuesday after the call of an "officer down" went out over the radio.
Officer Brian Arterburn had been struck by a stolen vehicle. The Wichita Police Department says the 25-year veteran suffered injuries to his chest, abdomen and brain.
As well-wishes for Officer Arterburn and the Wichita Police Department streamed in over social media throughout the day, one officer took the opportunity to reflect on the day's events and what had happened to his "family".
The chaos of this day through an officer's eyes, captured in a Facebook post.
"The sheer rawness of it, the honesty, the depth, is what stood out to me. And I think what the community needs to see," said Melanie Trelow, wife of a police officer.
The officer who wrote the post wasn't identified, but the group Kansas Going Blue says it was written by an officer who has been part of the force for a couple of years.
The post details thoughts running through his head, as he finds out a suspect ran over Officer Brian Arterburn.
"February 7, 2017 at 1308 hours will be a moment in time that will never leave me. Sitting off a house on my beat I hear the tones I've grown to unfortunately know. The rapid alternating beeps representing an officer is in trouble..."
Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson says the post shows a side of law enforcement citizens don't get to see every day.
"It humanizes us. We have feelings, we have emotions. And that's what he was showing in that," Henderson said.
The author of the post writes about responders from all agencies racing towards the officer down, not knowing at first, which officer was hurt, but already knowing he's part of their family.
Sheriff Henderson explains that bond.
"When these officers walk out of their patrol meeting every day, they're relying on these other guys as their backup. That bond you get from being support for each other," he said.
The author also writes about how much it means to him to have citizens reach out. Someone who noticed he'd been working for the scene for hours brings him water and prayers.
That part of the post resonates with Dana Schmitt, wife of a Wichita officer.
"My husband did the same thing, he got off duty and gentleman came up and asked to pray with him," she said, brushing away tears. "Those are nice things," she said.
The sheriff and the officers' wives say the community's support means more than we could know.
"People don't realize that happens and don't understand how good a feeling that is for the officer. Just to be recognized and thanked for doing their job," Henderson said.
"These guys put their lives on the line for not very much in return. So if we can wrap our arms around them and love on them as much as we can, hopefully that makes it worth it all," Trelow said.
Read the Facebook post below.
February 7, 2017 at 1308 hours will be a moment in time that will never leave me. Sitting off a house on my beat I hear the tones I've grown to unfortunately know. The rapid alternating beeps representing an officer is in trouble somewhere. Every officer knows them, and every officer's ears perk up when they get toned out ready to go to their brother or sister's aid in their time of need. But these tones were different. While they're usually followed by "Officer in trouble at XXX", that's not what followed today. Today, those tones were followed by "Officer Down at XXX, Officer down at XXX." coming from a frantic Dispatcher on a different side of the city. About a minute later another Dispatcher would get on the air "All available officers to start for the officer down.". She didn't need to, we were already on the way.
I immediately threw my seat belt on, and turned on my lights and sirens. I started south, double guessing the quickest route to get to my downed brother. While enroute, I quickly got in line with two other officers. We pushed our cars harder, and faster than they've ever been. We made a ten minute driver in less than four. Once there I caught myself and officers from my not only my department, but from most in the immediate area running into a building while civilians ran out. WPD, Sedgwick Co, Kansas Highway Patrol, US Marshals, ATF Agents, Eastborough, and I'm sure other agencies I didnt see.The man who attempted to kill our brother was inside, and he wasn't getting away. We did what we had to do, and the suspect was taken into custody.
When I parked my car there were probably seven others onscene. When I exited the building, there were well over thirty with air units over head. Most units onscene with the suspect had no idea which officer was hurt, or what condition he was in at the time. But we all knew he was one of us, and we all knew that he was part of our family.
I spent the next several hours onscene assisting with the investigation. During that time I saw hundreds of citizens approach and leave the scene, several taking pictures of the numerous police cars. Every move we made outside was followed by cameras from over half a dozen news agencies. At one point I was approached by a citizen who lives in the area, who offered her condolences and wanted to check on me since she had seen me in the same spot for several hours. That woman offered me the world, and when I turned it down she made sure to bring me a bottle of water and some kind words. As I shook her hand for her kindness and bottle of water, she broke down into tears and pulled me into a hug. She didn't let me go til she assured me she would be praying for my downed brother, and that she supported what we do as officers.
As the day progressed, the numbers of officers onscene started to get less and less. While the officer down originated on South bureau, I found myself onscene with a rag tag team of officers from different burueas. I'm from North side, the guy next to me was from West, and the guy out back was from East with a supervisor from North and East. All of us are proud of the buruea we represent, but we came together without hesitation to help the one in need.
My day ended with a part time at Wesley. During my four hour shift, I had several citizens shake my hand and offer their prayers for WPD. People that have never meant me, know what my uniform and my badge mean. They know that one of my family members was hurt today, and that he needs those prayers.
That is what it means to be part of this family. We stand as one. I may have never met some of my department, but they are my family. We take care of one another.
I started this as an insight for my non-LEO friends to what happened today. To show this isn't just a job. It turned into me getting out what happened today.
Pray for my brother's speedy recovery, as well as for his family.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."