Retired Dayton chief reflects on mass shooting response 1 year later

Former Chief Jeff Payne, who retired in January, says he is "very proud" of the resiliency first responders have shown

By Laura French

DAYTON, Ohio — The recently retired fire chief of Dayton, Ohio reflected on the first anniversary of a mass shooting killed nine people and left 27 others injured, saying first responders have shown resiliency after unprecedented challenges in 2019. 

Former Chief Jeff Payne, who retired in January, told WDTN that first responders were "prepared" to respond effectively, but that the shooting wasn't "anything anyone's ever done before, police or fire." 

Dayton Fire Department personnel faced numerous disasters in 2019, including a rash of 15 tornadoes about two months before the shooting, which led to days of nonstop search and rescue efforts.

Payne said the attack left first responders with a lot of emotional pain, but that those who needed help reached out and were able to receive the support they needed. 

"I am very proud the way the Dayton firefighters bounce back. You still have to come in. You still have to go on those 10 to 20 runs a day," Payne told WDTN. 

Payne added that both the fire and police department are now even more cohesive and prepared to respond to any future incidents, although he hopes they will never be called to respond to similar incident again. 


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