Those who knew and loved Vakoff said he had a heart of gold and that anyone that was around him had their spirits lifted as he was always smiling. One said he was an amazing officer and an even better friend.
One of his close friends and fellow academy graduates, Cameron Cox, told FOX31 he had big dreams in the force as well.
“I don’t think there’s a person out there that could say anything about Dillon. He was always relatable, and if he wasn’t he would come to their level, he never talked down to anyone,” Cox said. “I really don’t think I ever saw him without a smile. He was always the energy in the room. He was one of the guys that wanted to help the community on SWAT, and when I was living with him he made it clear that he wanted to be a school resource officer and be someone that the kids looked up to.”
According to one of his friends, Vakoff was not married and didn’t have a girlfriend.
The deadly shooting happened around 2:30 a.m. when Vakoff and another officer responded to a disturbance call to find several belligerent people in the street, the Arvada Police Department said. When the officers tried to break up the group, a suspect shot Vakoff and a woman. Officers returned fire, hitting the suspect.
Vakoff was taken to Lutheran Hospital where he later died. The suspect and woman were transported to hospitals where they were both expected to survive.
Vakoff was with the Arvada Police Department for the last three years. He was a 2012 graduate of Ralston Valley High School and served six years in the United States Air Force where he held the rank of staff sergeant. Vakoff was training to be a SWAT officer, the department said.
Cox went on to say Vakoff was one of the best people he ever knew.
“The world is gonna be out one less great human, someone that cared and wanted to be there for people. Someone who always had a smile on their face and meant a lot to a lot of people.”
“Dillon is an example of everything that is good about a police officer,” Arvada Police Chief Link Strate said.
The City of Arvada said the water tower will be lit up blue in honor of Vakoff Sunday evening.
You can donate to the fallen officer’s fund on this official donation page.
FOX31’s Gabby Easterwood spoke with a friend of Vakoff’s about who he was as a person and an officer. You can watch the interview at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.