LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Harry Fagel was a police officer for 25 years, but he has always been a poet. His career path often inspires his writing.
On Oct. 1, 2017, the then-Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department captain rushed to Las Vegas from his home in Laughlin after hearing reports of a shooting. That night he would serve as the intelligence coordinator on Metro’s incident command team.
“When I was in the middle of all that, I didn’t really have time to think about it,” Fagel explained. “But as time moved forward, I felt every single bit of angst inside of me was screaming to be let out.”
It inspired him to write the poem, “The Route,” which he performs yearly at 1 October memorial events. This year, Fagel reflected on the five years that have passed in a series of poems titled, “Route Revisit.”
“Five years has gone by and I hope that they’re healing. I know I’ve healed from it a little bit, but I know a lot of people are suffering terribly,” Fagel said. “I think that a lot of people are still trying to put this behind them and that’s really hard when they’re constantly reminded of the horror of it. Did anything good come from this horrible tragedy? I think that’s what we try and reach for as artists.”
After the shooting, he traveled the country teaching other police departments about the emergency response that night. He would end those sessions with a poem.
“It reminded everyone of the human side of this,” Fagel recalled. “No matter what the military side is, or the police side or the tactical side, at the end of it, these were human beings whose lives were forever changed in that moment.”
“What is uniquely special about Vegas is that when we go through times of trouble, nobody backs off from helping,” Fagel said. “Everybody does their part to make sure we as a community gets through it together.”