By Christine Bryant
Each time Reynoldsburg police officer Joe Danzey puts his duty bag in his cruiser, he thinks about the routine he shared with a fellow officer while training at the Dallas Police Academy.
“At the start of each shift while loading up our cruisers, Officer Zamarripa and I always had the same exchange of words,” Danzey said. “I would yell, ‘Yo Z! What’s up?’ Officer Zamarripa would respond, with a larger than life smile, “Yo Yo Dan-Z! Let’s do work!”
Danzey said a final goodbye to Officer Patrick Zamarripa this month, traveling to Dallas to mourn the loss of two of his former colleagues who were killed when a heavily armed sniper gunned down police officers in downtown Dallas July 7.
Killed were Officer Brent Thompson of the Dart Police Department, and Sgt. Michael Smith, Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens and officers Michael Krol and Zamarripa, all of the Dallas Police Department.
In addition to training at the academy with Zamarripa, Danzey worked with both Zamarripa and Krol in the Southeast Division of the city. Danzey attended both funerals.
“It was important for me to go to Dallas because the Dallas Police Department is one big family,” he said. “We’ve all shared blood, sweat and tears during our time serving the Dallas community, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Shortly after graduating from Ohio State, Danzey moved to Dallas to start his career in law enforcement. He moved back to Ohio to be closer to his family, as well as his wife’s, and began working with the Reynoldsburg Division of Police in 2013.
Wanting to represent and show the support of Reynoldsburg police officers, Danzey joined thousands of officers from hundreds of departments.
“There were officers from the east coast to the west coast, and officers who traveled from as far as the UK to show their support,” he said.
As a father of two, Danzey, like many officers, has struggled with the emotional fallout of recent events and what it means for him each time he puts on his uniform.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to swallow that there are people who will hate you, simply for the badge you wear,” he said.
Danzey said he often thinks about the promise he made to his two young girls and wife, “the promise to come home after every shift, tuck them in and kiss them goodnight.”
He prays each day he never will have to break that promise. Danzey said he takes comfort in knowing, however, he has the support of many Reynoldsburg residents.
During the past few weeks, residents and business owners have stopped by the police station to drop off flowers, cards, meals and baked goods, as well as to thank officers for what they do. The gestures, Danzey says, are greatly appreciated, and adds simple acts like stopping to say hello make a big difference to those in uniform.
“I’d ask the residents of Reynoldsburg to wave to an officer, shake his or her hand or even give him or her a hug,” he said. “Take a few seconds to let us show you that there is so much more to each of us than the uniform we wear.”