Residents across the metroplex are honoring the life of a longtime police officer killed in an apparent hit-and-run incident.
Arlington police officer Darrin McMichael was traveling to work on his motorcycle on I-20 in the morning hours of September 21 when traffic came to a halt. McMichael was reportedly unable to stop in time, and his motorcycle bumped the SUV ahead of him, throwing him into the next lane of traffic.
A dark-colored sedan allegedly ran over McMichael and then left the scene. McMichael later died from his injuries at a local hospital, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
McMichael’s wife, who also works for the Arlington Police Department (APD), had been driving nearby and witnessed the incident. McMichael’s death is being considered an on-duty death since he was on his way to work at the time of the accident, CBS News Texas reported.
Since the patrolman’s death, community members and law enforcement officers have gathered at a temporary memorial outside APD headquarters to honor McMichael and support his family. Images posted of the memorial on social media show an APD SUV with numerous flower bouquets adorning the vehicle.
Mark Beseda, an officer with the Grand Prairie Police Department, paid his respects to the fallen officer Thursday evening alongside his five-year-old daughter.
“It affects all of us police officers and citizens; it affects everybody,” said Beseda, according to CBS News. “There are police officers at her school, so they know what it means. … [T]he least we can do is come by.”
White Settlement Police Chief Christopher Cook said in a post on X — the social media platform formerly known as Twitter — that he had worked with McMichael at Six Flags events and remarked on his dedication and service to the department and the local community.
“Heartbroken for the APD family, his wife, and [immediate] family and friends,” said Cook in the post. “We will NEVER FORGET Officer Darrin McMichael.”
The Irving Police Department also posted on X in honor of McMichael, asking for prayers for the officer’s family and APD.
Arlington Police Chief Alexander Jones said that he and other members of the police department have been in pain since escorting McMichael’s body from the hospital to the medical examiner’s office, and they need closure. He urged the driver of the sedan to turn themselves in.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the incident.
APD’s recent loss comes as police departments around the country are experiencing staffing shortages, according to Fox News.
For its part, the Dallas Police Department is short around 900 officers. A City report previously advised that Dallas needs about three officers for every 1,000 residents, putting an ideal staffing level at roughly 4,000.