SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Hundreds of neighbors and friends placed flowers on Deputy Matthew Yates’ cruiser Monday night after the deputy was killed in the line of duty.
Many residents said his life was tragically cut short, but his impact goes beyond the Miami Valley.
“We are there for them, we are thinking of them and Deputy Yates’ sacrifice is not in vain,” said Police Wives of Ohio, Dayton & Miami Valley Chapter Media Coordinator Jessica Olson.
One resident said he remembered Deputy Yates serving him papers on his front porch, a day filled with tragedy quickly turned around when Yates offered to pray with him.
“When he showed up to that door, other than being scared, he offered prayer for me, that was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Clark County resident Tim White. “When he gave me prayer and showed me he cared, my feelings totally went straight to God.”
Another family said Deputy Yates attended their son’s birthday party after a social media post went viral, his son adores law enforcement and Deputy Yates.
“He went to work yesterday and didn’t know that would happen. When you’re in the line of duty that’s always the possibility but they’re still there to serve and protect our community and if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t feel as safe as we do,” said Clark County resident Josh Hennis. “We will always remember Yates.”
The Dayton and Miami Valley Chapter of Police Wives of Ohio hung blue bows throughout Springfield’s downtown area. They say the law enforcement community is struggling, coming to terms with another senseless death in the “Blue Family.”
“This is a nightmare for any blue family, it’s easy to put yourself in that person’s shoes because it could be any of our loved ones any day,” said Olson. “They run towards the danger, we know that and try not to think about it, but after what happened to Deputy Yates, that gets hard.”
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying they are working with the Yates family for funeral arrangements and will release information as soon as possible.