On Anniversary of Officer’s Death, Casper PD Reminds Community They’re ‘Right Here With You’
It was a year ago. It was a Monday night. It was one of the hardest stories we ever had to write.
On September 27, 2021, the Casper Police Department announced the passing of Lieutenant Danny Dundas.
The news shocked the entire community and, almost immediately, the tributes came pouring in.
The following day, Lt. Dundas' police cruiser was parked outside of the department, and dozens of community members delivered flowers to the site in remembrance of an officer, of a man, gone too soon.
On that day, we wrote this:
People become police officers for many different reasons. Some of those reasons are good, some aren't so good. Some police officers are good and some police officers are bad. But every once in a while, there's a police officer who is the living embodiment of everything that is good, everything that is pure, everything that is right about that profession. Because, for that officer, it's not about the badge and it's not about the gun - it's about the lives saved and the lives changed.
Lieutenant Danny Dundas was one of those officers. He ruled with kindness; not with an iron fist but with an open heart. And now, we grieve. We grieve for him and we grieve for his family and for his friends and for his colleagues. We grieve for our community because it will never be as great as it was when Lt. Dundas was a part of it. But we'll try. We will try to move forward, we will try to be better, we will try to shape ourselves into the community that Danny Dundas knew we could be. We will honor him. We will remember him. And we will live our lives as best we can, to be a testament to his.
That's what the community has attempted to do. Sometimes we've succeeded; other times we've not. Sometimes anger has won. Sometimes grief has overwhelmed. Sometimes sadness has overtaken.
But we're still here. The community is still here, still fighting, still learning, still growing.
So, too, is the Casper Police Department - who took time today to allow themselves to be a little vulnerable on what is, undoubtedly, one of the hardest days of the year for them. In doing so, they reminded the community that they are here - on good days and on bad. They also reminded the community that they are human. They make mistakes too. But, they try. Every single day, they try to do their best.
"There are days in many of our lives that stalk us throughout the year," the CPD wrote on their Facebook page. "Tragic anniversaries whose approach we can’t help but watch with a certain amount of dread and anxiety. As CPD and certain members of our community approach a few of these days ourselves, we wanted to reach out to you all. We’d like to take a moment of your time and ask that you help us add some hope and happiness back into these seemingly sad days.
"One unfortunate aspect of serving as an officer for your community is that we often see our fellow citizens on some of the worst days and/or times in their lives. As times become increasingly difficult, as they undoubtedly are for many of us, these hard days that we share with you increase in frequency. This gives us a unique insight into the pulse of our community, and we can often tell what way the wind is blowing in regard to our city’s overall mental health, and the direct impact it has on you all, and thereby us here at CPD as well.
"As professionals, we receive training in compartmentalizing some of the difficulties we experience on the job. But as many of you know, it can be difficult not to take home the stress and anxiety of a hard day’s work, especially if you experience a series of them in succession. We know that many of you out there are struggling with a seemingly endless barrage of negativity, stress, and perceived animosity. We know these times and feelings can get on top of you and weigh you down, making it seem difficult to move or even breathe. But we want you to know that we’re right here with you, experiencing it with you, and helping every way we know how. Moreover, we hope we can convey to you and be heard with confidence when we say that hard times will pass, and things will get better.
"As we here at CPD approach some of our own difficult anniversaries, and as we feel closely for the pulse of our community’s well-being, we’re hoping that you can help us in trying to calm some of the turbulence many are struggling with, and hopefully in doing so help us with struggles we face in doing our best to help mitigate your worst days.
"Ask most first responders why they joined, and they will simply tell you that they wanted to make a difference: for the community, for their families, for the victims, for the vulnerable, and for those struggling souls stumbling through the very worst days of their lives. It has never been about money or power or fame. It was for the adventure and for the painful privilege of venturing into the hurting places.
"Those employed with CPD have the extraordinary privilege of working with people of courage and compassion, of heroism and humanity, of bravery and brilliance, or determination and that precious, old-fashioned thing called duty. These are challenging times, make no mistake. This means that CPD needs your help, support, and insight. – because you, our community, our families, neighbors, and friends, deserve the best from us. It cannot be stressed enough that your worst days, are our worst days. And the same goes for your best.
"So, as we cope with our tragic anniversaries and these hard times, and we explore what they mean to us and our community, we selfishly hope you’ll consider an invitation. We invite you to choose kindness over impatience. Patience over inconvenience. And to engage in the one thing we have learned through years of experience to see us through-
Rely on each other.
Help each other.
Be a team.
Be a part of our community.
In doing so, you’ll be helping us more than you know."
The Casper Police Department then shared various links to mental health agencies, as September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. It's important to be aware, to know, and to understand that there are agencies out there for those struggling with mental health issues, or suicidal thoughts.
The CPD want the community to know that they are not alone, but maybe the community should remind them that they aren't alone, either.
Police officers are human, too. Just like the rest of us. And, just like the rest of us, they have struggles. Just like the rest of us, they hurt. And just like the rest of us, they deserve to know that they are worthy, they are needed, and they are loved.
Lieutenant Dundas certainly is.