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Dayton detective shot ‘saved countless lives’ in his undercover work

Published: Tuesday, November 05, 2019 @ 6:30 PM

Dayton officer shot: Questions we're working to get answers to

Jorge DelRio was described Tuesday as a police officer who dedicated his entire career to combating the illegal drugs that plague the Dayton community.

The 30-year police officer was critically injured Monday after being shot in the face while serving a search warrant at a Dayton home.

He was placed on advanced life support at Grandview Medical Center, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said.

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DelRio, who joined the department in 1989, has saved and positively changed countless lives because of his work to remove dangerous drugs and narcotics from the streets, Biehl, who choked back tears while discussing the shooting and the wounded detective, said.

“His work had impact regionally, nationally, and international,” Biehl said. “He was that good at what he did. He loved what he did.”

MORE: A look at police shootings in the Miami Valley since 1996

DelRio’s professionalism and work quality exemplifies the Dayton police force’s mission, Biehl said.

The chief said DelRio’s injuries are “grave” and he asked the community to keep the detective and his family in its thoughts and prayers.

Biehl said DelRio’s family, including his wife, children and grandchildren, gathered at the hospital Monday night.

“They are all deeply affected by this,” he said. “Clearly, they want to be with him … they wanted to be there to support him, rooting for him, pulling for him, praying for him.”

DelRio, 55, was sworn into the police department on March 9, 1989. In May 2000, he became a DEA task force officer in the narcotics bureau.

During his career, DelRio received seven written commendations, two letters of appreciation and one unit citation.

DelRio is the first Dayton police officer injured by gunfire since 2012, when an undercover officer was shot in Trotwood.

“Through his own sacrafice and peril, Jorge exemplifies the Dayton Police Department’s motto, ‘Honor through service and service through honor,” Biehl said.

»RELATED: Dayton police detective shot, wounded while serving warrant with DEA task force

In 2009, DelRio was praised by the director of the Greene County ACE Task Force for helping the task force with “numerous” investigations that led to the recovery of drugs, weapons, cash and vehicles.

In 2004, DelRio received a written commendation for work he did with the FBI and Safe Streets Task Force, which included the investigation of a possible “murder for hire” and “reverse sale” of explosives, a firearm and a silencer.

He also was commended for his undercover work in which he convinced three suspects he could supply them with 300 pounds of marijuana. The suspects were charged with federal drug crimes.

Police officials say DelRio continues to do undercover work. They said they could not release a photo of DelRio because it could compromise his investigations.

DelRio’s bilingual skills helped during a traffic stop and drug investigation involving the Ohio State Highway Patrol, police records show. His work helped lead to the seizure of 7 kilos of cocaine, half a kilogram of heroin and $207,000 in currency.

In 1997, DelRio aided in an investigation that resulted in one of the largest cash seizures related to criminal activities in the region.

DelRio helped translate when authorities were interviewing a drug-trafficking suspect who eventually led police to more than $855,000 in cash in criminal proceeds. Authorities in all seized 39 kilos of cocaine, $958,000 and several vehicles, police records show.

MORE: Dayton officer on life support after shooting; identity released

DelRio put his life on the line every day for the city and this community, said Keith Martin, Special Agent in Charge with the DEA Detroit Field Division.

DelRio’s shooting was senseless and tragic and is an attack on this community and its justice system, said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr.

“My heartfelt sympathies are extended to the DelRio family but also to Chief Biehl and the entire Dayton Police Department,” Heck said.

The Dayton FOP has postponed its policeman’s ball on Saturday in light of the shooting.

Many police officers who were planning and organizing the event worked directly with the wounded detective, said Rick Oakley, president of the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44.

Biehl said he has already received an outpouring of support for DelRio and the police department from colleagues across Ohio and beyond.

Biehl said Sgt. Stephen Clark will coordinate resources for the family and department.

DelRio’s shooting is another terrible tragedy in a year of “unprecedented” tragedies, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said

But, she said, “The community support gives us strength.”