Ever since the video of Dave's final sign-off as a cop went viral on YouTube, we have been delighted, surprised, appalled, and completely blown away at the wide variety of responses. Most have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. But...
I had NO idea how many people have horrible impressions of cops... We have received many horrible comments from people who assume that all cops, including Dave, are out to kill as many innocent people as they possibly can!
So I never know what kind of comment will pop into my inbox next! One at the nice end of the spectrum ~ like this one, which came in while I was working on this article: "Dave is the man, be like Dave! Much respect to you, man!" ... or one like this: "Too bad he didn't get killed on the job"! And that last one was mild compared to many other comments on the mean end.
Wanna see a few of these "gems" just so you can share in the "joy" and see what we've been encountering?!? (Warning!!! They're somethin' else!!!)
If not, (And I DO understand!) just skip down past the "colorful-language" comments without reading any of them, although I did omit many of the letters of the problematic words so that those who read through this section won't be quite as assaulted with all the F-bombs, D-bombs, A-bombs, and C-bombs. Need be, now's the time to skip on down to this "Back in the SAFE zone" photo that's below the "colorful" comments!
OK! You have been duly warned!!! Here are just ten of the many horrible comments we received...
"I wonder how many innocent people this c___s__ker has framed and put behind bars. F___ him."
"39 years of being racist towards blacks and Mexicans. Unlawfully, and forcefully arresting innocent people. Being useless, when it comes to safety. And a annoyance to society. Now he can go f___ himself to death."
"I wished an illegal alien would walk up and shoot his fat as_. You took way to many lifes and someone will make sure f___ers like you pay."
"You know deep down he's thinking, dam_ now I can't shoot anyone and get away with it."
"Dam_, probably ruined a lot of lives in 39 years. sheesh lol. F____ this crybaby pig."
"F___ this sh_t bag. And I bet yall his white as_ won't be going to Mexico anytime soon. They be killing yall as_ like yall do us, with no punishment. 😂💀🔫🚧"
"Too bad this pig didn't get a lead on his last call. 39 years of being a scumbag and a crimmial. ... 39 years to look the other way when his fellow blue isis broke the law or worst. At least the streets will be a little bit safer without this t_rd."
And why not bring me, his wife, and our family into the vomituous verbiage!?!?!!?
"Wow, thats a long time. wonder how many families you extorted and ruined. i hope a f____ing meteor hits your house and wipes out your entire filthy pig brood."
"Who cares barb...this is so staged.....FARMERS ARE THE WORLDS HEROS NOT F___ING COPS.. bla bla bla.... boo hoo cry some more you baby....... wooptie doo the finish line....."
"Now you can go and kill your wife then kill yourself you dirty f__ing pig."
BLEAH!!!! I feel like my soul needs a shower after that!!!!!
These comments don't scare or upset me or Dave. They're utterly disgusting, but, more than anything, anyone who would say such things is just in a super-sad place.
Besides, there have been an overwhelmingly greater number of well-wishing, appreciative, congratulatory, respect-expressing comments to counter-balance them!
There were also those who wanted to know if he was a good cop, or at least not a bad one:
"Hope he wasn’t an as_hole cop."
And a few expressed their reservations while still giving him the benefit of the doubt:
"All I hope is that u was a fair, non-racist, good cop. With that being said, congratulations sir, and thank u for your service. Enjoy your retirement!"
"If you were a good cop, then your efforts will be missed!"
I think that's a fair enough question! I mean, they don't know Dave; how could they know about his character, whether he really was a good or a bad cop? I felt that their questions were sincere; that they really wanted to know.
Plus, I super-appreciate that they didn't just assume he was a bad cop, which so many did!
And I'm sure they weren't the only ones who wondered.
So there are two reasons I wanted to put together this article: to answer that burning question of whether or not Dave was a good cop, and to honor him for the wonderful man he is!
I wanted to do both of the above not with my words but with the many wonderful comments that have sprung out of the woodwork from people who have had a connection to him from a variety of angles. I could say all sorts of great things about my husband, but how much better to hear from others?!
So... here we go!
“It’s been my experience that long before they come close to 39 years of service, many police officers become increasingly frustrated, cynical and ‘hardened’ by all the pain, lies, tragedy, and injustices they’ve seen. Their duty has taken them to horrible places few others have been. These are often unconscious defense mechanisms to protect their psyche and heart.
Officer Shelton is one of the special officers who did not allow that to happen. Instead of getting “hardened,” he saw the hurt in the people he was dealing with and became more tender. More understanding. More Christ-like.
Contrary to much of what is portrayed in social and public media, there are many, many other officers like Dave – but he is a great example and role model for police officers everywhere. The recognition is truly well-deserved. I’m honored to be your friend, Dave."
Wayne is a long-time family friend, did much mentoring of Dave in his first two years of being a police reserve officer for KPD*, which greatly contributed to Dave placing #1 at the Police Academy. So Dave, after two years of serving as a reserve (volunteer / no pay) on top of his full-time job, was hired at KPD and then worked the road with Wayne for many years, until Wayne eventually became chief. (He is now retired.)
*So, in a very real way, Dave actually has 41 years with KPD! He was only paid for 39.
"39 years is a long time to walk the thin blue line. Many people I know have heard me talk about Barb and Dave Shelton. Even if I haven't said their names to you, I'll bet you've heard me tell you about them.
Their daughter, Sharnessa, introduced my wife and I (and we named our baby after her), their son-in-law, Sam, was the officiant at our wedding, I helped Sam and Sharnessa build/remodel their two dance studios, and I helped build his other daughter's house.
To be frank, Dave and Barb's counseling is probably one of the only reasons that my family still speaks to one another. Let alone have good relationships. My point is that this couple is one of the best and most influential couples in my life. They are always willing to make time to give me the godly input I need when I am at a impasse, and I wish them a well deserved, and blessed retirement"
"Dave was a huge part of my growing up in schools! In elementary school he taught my sister about DARE and in high school he was always there helping with whatever we needed! Dave was the best police officer I knew. Always has a welcoming smile and wouldn't hurt a fly!
Now he's a person I look up to in my Christian walk and I just wanted to say thank you, Dave! I finally stopped crying after watching the video and now here I am typing this comment through tear-filled eyes.
So just thank you, not only for your service, but for being the man you are! You've always been there and now I know God put you in my life because you are someone I look up to along with your family! You and your beautiful wife raised amazing children, and they are also people I look up to in my Christian walk!
So I guess to sum up this comment... Thank you, Dave, for your service and being you. Barb, thank you for being a policeman's wife and raising amazing children! I really do love you guys and appreciate you guys so much!”
"Thank you, Dave, for your service and all that you've done for me, Roy Vaughan, personally. You actually helped me out when my life wasn't going so good, became a friend of mine and helped lead me in the right direction. You are truly an inspiration and a friend and role model for many people. Thank you for your service and I thank God for His role in your life. It shows!"
"Sniff sniff.....❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ I watched this video and... wow!! Thank you, Dave, for being you!! Thank you for your service, thank you for your bravery and your dedication to your career, your community and most of all your family!!
Barb, your blog story about his final sign-off is absolutely perfect! It captured so much compassion and love!!
Dave, you and your wife are just a really neat love story and you have spread that to your children (all of them), and grandchildren. I know your family is tightly woven with love. I love who you two are and what you’ve instilled in your children! You always do life together as a family and I love that you choose to spend time with your children and grandchildren!! Your whole family is truly blessed!!! Congratulations to all of your family and have fun in your retirement, Dave!!"
"Love beyond words. What an honorable officer, husband and father. And this family...!!! ❤️ Thank you, Dave, for your service and sharing your last emotionally charged moments of duty. Such a bright light to shine as an example to the public of and for your fellow officers.
Thank you, Barb, for sharing something so personal to your family with friends - but apparently the whole country as well by now!! 😊"
(Vikki's intro when she shared Dave's sign-off video on her Facebook page:)
I know I share a few friends with Sharnessa Sanden and her family, but for of those who do not know this family, I wanted to share this post [of Dave's final sign-off]!
Dave and Barb Shelton have always been superstars to me!! Please watch this touching video of an excellent example of a Public Servant and his grace when saying good-bye!
"Breaks my heart he retired – he was one of the best, most respectful, sweetest, caring officers anyone could have in their town. He's a great man and he's an honest officer, and it does break my heart to see him go. I hope all officers have the heart he does.
Absolutely going to miss Officer Shelton. Hope his retirement is as good as he was for our community!"
(This was Kathy's intro when she shared Dave's sign-off video on her Facebook page:)
"This is the final sign-off video of Kahri's dance teacher's father (Dave Shelton). So touching. He definitely wears his heart on his sleeve, and has been a positive influence on so many, just as his daughters have been with the girls they have taught through the years. Sharnessa and her sister, Carlianne, have taught the girls not only dance, but to respect themselves, so others will too. They were taught by their wonderful parents, and they continue to pass along wonderful values, from generation to generation. Thankful to them for that!"
Neva Jo Suhadolnik
“Congratulations, Officer Shelton! I remember you when l worked at District Court. You were an outstanding policeman, well respected, all-around nice guy with utmost integrity. I am honored to know you. Best wishes to you for a well deserved retirement!”
"I remember that he stopped me on my way to work coming off Old 99 onto Tennant Way because I had my tags on the wrong way. Duh! Yep, only me! Ha! How he saw that from that distance, I do not know. Super power vision is my only explanation! And what a very genuinely nice human being! No, he didn’t give me a ticket. With his nice smile and chuckle, I could tell that he had a good heart. I didn’t know his name at that time, but I do now. Congratulations and Happy retirement to Officer Dave Shelton, and thank you for serving us in Kelso. 😊"
"Thanks, Dave, for your service, and to you, Barb, for all the years you gave to Lila introducing home schooling and standing with her. She really loved and respected you. Dave was a Godly, devoted officer. He loved his community, his family, and was faithful to his church. My family has been blessed by this family. This is the reason our sons are where they are today ~ because of the behind the scenes ways you were there for us."
Ginny Pedersen Gann
"Dave was a great police officer and so easy to work with. He cared deeply for people and his job. He is a wonderful person, and I know that he is greatly missed.
Be proud of that husband of yours because, Barb, he was one of the very good ones, and he put his heart and soul into his job. I wish that all officers could take a page out of his book and learn to be like him.
I told him this morning (at church) that this was the one job I had that I could tell people where to go and they had to do it. 😊
It is hard to sign off for the last time. 39 years is a long time and what a record he has. When Dave signed off that last night I know that his heart was torn but he will enjoy his retirement. So proud to be able to say that I know him."
(For 19 years, Ginny worked as a dispatcher for the Cowlitz County Communications Center. The "Comm Center" is responsible for taking 9-1-1 calls and dispatching emergency services. Ginny worked on the Kelso frequency numerous times and frequently dispatched Dave to calls.)
(This was Berdie's intro when she shared Dave's sign-off video on her Facebook page:)
"I'm honored to share this post about the final sign-off of the husband of my very special and treasured friend, Barb Shelton. I am honored to be a dear friend of this whole family. This man, Dave Shelton, is a man of integrity with a huge heart, full of love and respect for people.
Dave, you served our city with integrity, honor and respect, and with love and concern for all whom you served as a police officer. I think you were over-the-top the best of the best!!!
And I love what you chose to do to with your family (zip-lining) to celebrate and start your days of retirement!
Thank you, Dave, for your service to our city, Kelso, Washington, as one of our amazing Kelso Police Officers, and for being wonderful you. KPD is missing you, I am sure.
Craig is on the left; his son, Tarryn, is featured in the next comment!
Dave you’re a special man, and I am so grateful that you are, and will always be, such a big part of my son’s life. Mentoring him as he continues his work and pursuits as a first responder and in life.
This video really helps to shine a light on all the great police that are out there! Thank you and God bless you.
"Dave has been one of my biggest mentors and shows what the definition of Selfless Service truly means! Even up to the last days of working with KPD, Dave continued to work with a passion and caring heart that has lead him to serve, protect and impact (myself included) the people of our community!
Dave, thank you for your service and for setting a very high standard of what a man (or woman) in this profession is supposed to be! You served a community selflessly and, along with Barb, raised an incredible family! I hope to resemble the character and passion that you’ve shown and I am thankful to have an incredible mentor and close friend that has taught me a lot and helped me grow over the last few years!"
From Dave: "Tarryn rode with me quite a few times over the years. This photo of us together (above right) was taken when Tarryn came out and rode with me for the last time before my retirement. When Tarryn gets out of the military, he plans on working as a police officer for Kelso PD. After the photo was taken, I made the comment to Tarryn: "Next time we take a photo like this, I'll be in civilian clothes and you'll be the one wearing the uniform!"
"This video is so heartwarming! I'm all choked up now but so happy for him and the family. Thank you for your service, Dave. What a great example you are. 😊 You have been a positive influence in Cowlitz County. And I love this amazing family! This is how police officers should be represented. Finally a positive light that can be reflected on those who serve. Thank you for your service, Dave! Happy retirement!"
"I felt very proud, honored and grateful, as I watched first the blog post Barb made of your "last sign-off" and then the short documentary that aired on Inside Edition on TV.
Dave, I have the same feeling about you in the way you have taken care of Barb during the time she's been laid up with a broken knee; you have done an exemplary job of taking care of your wife. You put your heart and soul into it. Which is how you conducted yourself in your career. You put your heart and soul into it. You weren't a different Dave at work than you are at home, or at church, or in the store, or in our Catalyst home group. You are consistently consistent, a Godly man.
I'm exceptionally grateful for both of you, inviting Don and me to be in your home group with the other couples. They say: "Friends are the family you choose for yourself." Well, you already do have a very close, special family, and you have also done a wonderful job of making US feel like a family, too.
This was a well-deserved tribute, Dave. So thankful to be friends with you and Barb."
"It’s been a pleasure having you serve our community, Dave. I am disgusted by some of the negative comments I've seen in response to your sign-off video. Most people don’t understand what we as first responders have to deal with. I deal with half of what you had to deal with, and you always kept your composure and always had compassion. And in this profession that goes a long way. We will miss you out there and hope you enjoy your retirement. Thank you from all of us at Cowlitz 2"
"I wanted to say a big thank you for knowing what to say and when to say it. A family member would not of lived as long as he did if it wasn't for you knowing just how to speak to a man who just felt worthless, but you, Sir, showed him he was wrong, and that he himself meant a great deal to many. Even though you took him to jail, he got it together and our family loves you for what you did.
There's not another one out there that understands people, and talks to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly like this man did. He needs to be training the other officers to be just the way he was.
God Bless You, Sir. Enjoy no alarm clocks for awhile, and thank you, Sir, once again."
Let's close with
a few "short but sweet"
"Not gonna lie, made me teary!! Because Dave was so respectful to the people he brought to jail, nor was he ever demeaning or belittling to them, Dave was always one of my faves ~ as is his son, Tory, for the same reasons. ❤️❤️ I wish him the best in retirement 😊" (Traci is a Corrections Officer at the Cowlitz County Jail.)
"Amazing video of an amazing man! I’m SO thankful I had the privilege of working with “Officer Dave” for 24 and one half years!" (Julie is a secretary at Kelso Police Dept.
"I’m all choked up. Dave, I will always remember you as my DARE officer. Your kindness and heart never went unnoticed. Thank you for your service!
"He worked with us when our house got burglarized, and he was amazing!"
"I watched it and cried even though I've seen the video many times before! lol This is well-deserved attention, Dave! You are exemplary! ❤️" (Tamera and her husband are part of Dave and Barb's home group)
And this is a
great one to end with...
(Debbie has been a family and church friend for many years.)
"I love it! Can I have your autograph? As long as it's not on a ticket! 😉 Love you, Dave! See you in church."