He’s my hero

June 7, 2019

Christopher McDonough

Christopher McDonough

Christopher McDonough
Oceanside (CA) Police Department

I’m honoring my husband, Chris McDonough, a retired Oceanside, California Police Department homicide detective, who spent his law enforcement career serving and honoring others. He’s my hero!

Beach team assignment
Beach team assignment

Chris has been in public safety since 1982. He spent nearly 25 years with the Oceanside Police Department, including 13 years as a homicide detective. He’s a nationally-recognized criminal behavior expert who’s been an invited guest for his work in protecting children on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, CBS’s 48 Hours, the BBC and numerous other TV and radio programs. His expertise is in child homicide and death investigations, interviewing and criminal behavior analysis.

Chris has been involved in the investigation of hundreds of death cases and has assisted and consulted on some of the country’s highest profile child homicide and kidnapping investigations including Jon Benet Ramsey, Elizabeth Smart, Leticia Hernandez, Stephanie Crowe, Matthew Cecchi and the West Memphis Three in the interview of Christopher Morgan. He’s an expert on predatorial behavior involving those who choose children as victims. He has interviewed serial child killers on Death Row including Wesley Allen Dodd and Brandon Wilson, who killed Matthew Cecchi in a public bathroom in Oceanside. The Wilson interview started the movement to create, for the first time, public family restrooms in the United States.

Chris has lectured at the university level on criminal behavior and child victimology. He is a contributing author to the book, “Who Killed Stephanie Crowe, Anatomy of a Murder.” He has also contributed to a chapter in the book, “Analyzing Criminal Behavior II,” a law enforcement-training manual. He has trained homicide investigators across the country in criminal investigative analysis and has been described as having an innate ability to understand the behavioral and forensic aspects of a criminal case. In 1995, Chris noted the emergence of the “White Collar Predator” as an intellectually-advanced sexual deviant fueled by inappropriate material readily available on the internet.

Chris has always felt that his divine calling from God was to protect children.

We are proud that he has served as the longest sitting board of director for the country’s oldest child safety program, The Greatest Save, a recognized charity of Major League Baseball since 1992.

Chris comes from a family of heroes. His father, the late John McDonough, was a decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. Chris’s mom, Mary, also served in the Marine Corps. Both John and Mary are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Chris is known for his optimism and positivity. He’s always felt his first responsibility is to God and his family. Together we have raised four successful children and are now enjoying our grandchildren.

He’s always been an influence for good in the lives of many and in the communities in which we’ve lived. I’m blessed to be his wife, who has stood beside him all these years. He’s always honored me and now our family honors him.

He’s made his life a lasting legacy. He’s our hero!

Police Officer Kevin A. Minor

May 9, 2019

Kevin Minor

Kevin Minor

Kevin Minor
Police Officer
St. Louis County (MO) Police Department

I am honoring my husband, my hero, Police Officer Kevin Minor. In 1991, Kevin answered God’s calling to serve and protect others. He began his career as a patrolman for University City Police Department. In 1995, he was hired by the St. Louis County Police Department, where he continues to serve today. He has served in many roles on the department such as; a tactical operator, field training instructor, recruiter, firearms instructor and now as the Community Engagement Officer.

Kevin is a fierce defender of this noble profession and the brothers and sisters with whom he serves. He considers it an honor to wear the badge and the responsibility with which he has been bestowed. He is a passionate leader in every sense of the word. He is the first one through the door and the last one out. He is a role model and mentor to his fellow officers and the youth in the community. Even though Kevin missed his other calling as a stand-up comedian, with a specialty in impersonations and practical jokes, this talent allows him to bring some levity to those around him. He has a positive attitude about life and tries to bring happiness to all he interacts with.

Police Officer Kevin Minor standing in front of the apartment building where he saved a man from a fire. Kevin was featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper titled "Heroes."

Police Officer Kevin Minor standing in front of the apartment building where he saved a man from a fire. Kevin was featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper titled “Heroes.”

He has dedicated his life to serving the community, which is evident in his receipt of eighteen letters of Appreciation from private citizens, colonels and chiefs from other police and fire departments. He has been awarded nine Awards of Excellence and ten Chief’s Commendations. He received the Meritorious Service Award for saving an elderly man, during an apartment fire. He has been awarded the CIT Officer Commendation from the St. Louis Area Crisis Intervention Team Coordinating Council and the John McAtee Award from Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri, for which he saved a man from committing suicide.

Not only is Kevin a phenomenal officer but he is truly a wonderful man. He is devoted and loyal to his family and friends, putting them first. He would do anything for his children, nieces and nephew. He is a gentleman and a gentle man. We are blessed to know him, love him and be loved by him.

DJL – One of a Kind

April 23, 2019

Jeffrey Dovigh

Jeffrey Dovigh

Jeffrey Dovigh
New York State Police

My name is Jeff Dovigh and I have been working for the New York State Police since October 30, 2000. I have received my share of commendations and awards, been part of many interesting details and serve on several specialized units (K-9, Contaminated Crime Scene, Bomb Disposal Unit). My career has been very rewarding, helping countless numbers of people. From providing people with simple directions to aiding victims of serious crimes. But this is not all about me.

Over the course of my first 6+ years I was partnered with quite a few people. Some better than others. Then in 2006, a new recruit came to my station. I took him under my wing and showed him around. His name was David J. Lane. After one shift, I knew this guy was pretty squared away. Probably because he served in the U.S. Army, completing tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. We complemented each other perfectly and made each other better. My weaknesses were his strengths and my experiences and familiarity of the patrol area helped Dave. Dave was the consummate jokester. He was always the one to provide a laugh when you needed one. Beyond the hijinks, Dave was a great cop. He always had your back no matter what, would work a case tirelessly and could talk to people like no other. He had the gift of making people say a little more than they should. Not only suspects, but co-workers as well. For the next two years, we were partnered up on a daily basis. As time went on our friendship grew stronger, not only at work, but outside of work too. Dave ate his share of holiday meals with my wife and our family because of our work schedule and his long distance from home. We went out for dinner and drinks with mutual friends. We bonded over the ups and downs of our favorite team, the New York Mets. We even went to Shea Stadium to see them play.

In 2008, I was accepted into the K-9 school and was away for 5 months. With the K-9, came a transfer to another station. It was a great opportunity, but it was an adjustment to leave a group of people I considered family.

November 4, 2009 is the day that changed everything. I was at the K-9 training facility with my first K-9 “Matti.” I received a call from Dave that morning. He was just checking in and told me he herded some deer out of the road and up my driveway with the troop car. We agreed that it was long overdue and we had to get together soon. Little did I know that would be the last time I would speak to Dave. Later in the afternoon, I received a call from my colleague telling me that Dave was in a car accident and didn’t make it. Dave was tragically killed in an on-duty motor vehicle accident less than ½ mile from my house. It is a location that I unfortunately have to revisit nearly every day. In the years that have followed, Dave’s fiancé Kelly and I planned, designed and constructed a permanent memorial in his honor at the crash site. It’s a peaceful place now. A place where you can stop and remember.

K9 DJ (left) and K9 Lane (right)

K9 DJ (left) and K9 Lane (right)

In July of 2015, it was time for K-9 “Matti” to retire and I received my second K-9. I spoke with Dave’s parents, Steve and Cheryl, two of the nicest people you could ever meet. I asked them if it would be ok to name another K-9 in honor of Dave. Army Veteran and NYS Trooper Dave Ruderfer had the first K-9 to honor Dave, with K-9 “Lane.” Ruderfer and K-9 Lane had a stellar career, but a promotion to Investigator led to K-9 “Lane’s” retirement. Mr. and Mrs. Lane said they would be honored to have a second dog named for Dave. I named the dog “D.J.” He is a longhaired German Shepherd trained in explosive detection, tracking and handler protection. K-9 “D.J.” is very similar to his namesake. He is hard working, loyal and dedicated … with a slightly mischievous side. I miss Dave every day. I will never forget the life lessons, the laughs and the bond that we had. Having K-9 “D.J.” reminds me of all the good times we shared and keeps Dave’s legacy going. It is truly special.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea

April 9, 2019

Kory Honea

Kory Honea

Kory Honea
Butte County (CA) Sheriff’s Office

Kory Honea, Kassidy Honea and Jennifer Honea are in the picture. In the picture Kassidy Honea was just sworn in as a Paradise Police Officer.
Kory Honea, Kassidy Honea and Jennifer Honea are in the picture. In the picture Kassidy Honea was just sworn in as a Paradise Police Officer.

Kory Honea is the Sheriff-Coroner of Butte County, which is in Northern California. He has served in that position since May of 2014. Sheriff Honea began his law enforcement career with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office in 1990, working on Lake Shasta as a boating safety officer and then as a deputy in the jail. In 1993 he took a position as a deputy sheriff for the Butte County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Honea served as a patrol deputy and detective until 2000, when he transferred to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office as an investigator.

During his tenure at the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff Hone earned a Juris Doctor and became a member of the State Bar of California. After promoting through the ranks and becoming Chief Investigator at the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff Honea returned to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office as the Undersheriff in 2010. As the elected Sheriff-Coroner, Sheriff Honea oversees a department that provides law enforcement, coroner, civil, correctional and court security services to the 222,000 residents of Butte County.

In February 2017, Sheriff Honea played a key role in the emergency response to the “Oroville Dam Spillway Crisis,” which resulted in the evacuation of an estimated 180,000 residents of northern California. In November 2018, Sheriff Honea was again called upon to help lead and manage the emergency response to the “Camp Fire,” which to date is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.

Sheriff Honea is married to Jennifer Honea, who is a public safety dispatcher. Their daughter Kassidy is a police officer for the Town of Paradise.

A very proud wife

Lester Swick

Lester Swick

Lester Swick
Union County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office

Lester Swick
One of Les’ many honorable moments

Lester Swick of Springfield, NJ is a first-generation police officer who was hired by the Union County (NJ) Police Department in 1983 as a patrolman. He was assigned to the Detective Bureau and became a member of the Tactical Team. He then became Certified Weigh Master and was founding member of the Traffic Enforcement Unit. He was a member of Motorcycle Patrol and a Search & Rescue scuba diver. Additionally, he received 20 citations for guns and narcotic arrests.

In 1987, he was hired by Union County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office. Throughout his career at UCPO, he was assigned to Grand Jury/Trial Unit, Homicide, Narcotics, Intelligence Unit and was an instructor at The Union County Policy Academy. He worked undercover and in 1999, was recognized as Union County Narcotics Officer of the Year. On the federal level, he was assigned to FBI Task Force, DEA and was Commander of HIDTA.

In 2000, he had a proud moment as his father Don held the bible, and his mother Betty looked on, as he was promoted to Sergeant. As Sergeant, he oversaw numerous successful wiretaps, money-laundering and state & federal drug investigations. In 2004, his wife Teri proudly held the bible as he was promoted to Lieutenant. He became Commander of the Guns, Gangs & Drugs Task Force and at one point was also Commander of the Auto Theft Task Force. In 2009, his case was profiled on America’s Most Wanted.

Upon his retirement in 2013, after a 30-year career, he was honored for his service from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and DEA.

Although he is proud of his distinguished career, he is most proud of his three children, Danielle, Cassie and Brian and the fact that he was able to be a hands-on dad and was either coaching or in the audience throughout their memory-making moments. He is also honored that Brian has followed in his footsteps and has chosen a career in law enforcement.

In his retirement, he has enjoyed varied part-time work, being a private detective and most of all spending time with his grandchildren, Zach and Grace and is hopeful for more grandchildren to come.

A Husband, A Father: Our Hero

Thomas Francolino

Thomas Francolino

Thomas Francolino
Wallingford (CT) Police Department

Our names are Donna Francolino, Katie Francolino, and Kristea Francolino – the very proud wife and daughters of Officer Thomas J. Francolino (ret.). Tom Francolino was a Patrolman of the Wallingford Police Department in Wallingford, Connecticut from November 1980 to December 1994. Some of the qualities which made Tom Francolino an outstanding law enforcement officer were his commitment to the job, and constant pursuit of the truth and justice. With a nickname of “Officer Friendly” he embodied all that is good about peace officers, building many positive relationships within his community. He is special to us for many reasons. Not only did he dedicate years of his life to this profession, but he was extremely devoted to his family throughout his tenure as a police officer.

Due to an injury which occurred in the line of duty, Tom honorably retired after 14 years of faithful service. Since his retirement, he has become a member of the New Haven Police Centurions and the New Haven Police Emerald Society and Color Guard. Tom continues to serve his community in a different capacity, currently employed at a middle school working with students on a daily basis and making a meaningful impact on each child’s life. He also spends his time as a high school football coach and middle school basketball coach, empowering all of his athletes to make the right choices both on and off the field.

We want Officer Thomas J. Francolino (ret.) to be remembered in this Museum for his dedication to the profession while employed as a police officer; and for his unwavering support of his brothers and sisters in the line of duty as a retired police officer.

Heroes live forever

Ghayas Ahmed

Ghayas Ahmed

Ghayas Ahmed
Deputy Sheriff
Fairfax County (VA) Sheriff’s Office

Working as a law enforcement officer, I devote my life to the community I serve. I believe law enforcement is a unique profession that few people will ever experience. Be safe and watch your six.

Deputy Michael David Ryan E.O.W. 12/31/2017 and Sergeant Robin Shepherd-Ryan

March 26, 2019

Deputy Michael David Ryan

Deputy Michael David Ryan

Michael David Ryan
Broward County (FL) Sheriff’s Office

Sergeant Robin Shepherd-Ryan
Sergeant Robin Shepherd-Ryan

Hello, my name is Robin Shepherd-Ryan, a sergeant for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Florida. I am a veteran of sixteen years. I am also a proud member of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard for twelve years. I am here to honor and memorialize Deputy Michael David Ryan.

A deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Michael was a veteran of thirteen years ten months who exhibited great strength and commitment. Michael was working when he collapsed outside the Main Jail. He passed away on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2017. Michael was described as a “Gentle Giant” by his peers. He took great pride in working for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, where he received Letters of Commendation as well as the Life Saver Award.

More importantly, Michael was the love of my life, my best friend, and my family for thirty years. Sixteen of those years we were married. Thirteen years and ten months spent as co-workers with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

I knew Michael to be strong, powerful, funny. I also knew him to be kind, humble, mild-mannered, unassuming, motivating. He was my Superman, always there when I needed him.

Michael loved Powerlifting. Lifting with his closest friends, training for and competing in competitions made him feel like he was an eagle, with his arms stretched out soaring high in the sky and nothing could stop him.

Kindness, he always made a point to extend a kind and respectful word to everyone. Michael’s kindness was remarkable; he would give someone in need the shirt off his back, literally. The first time it happened I noticed that he wasn’t wearing button down, only the undershirt. So, of course, I ask him where his shirt was. He responded, “Well there was this guy who said he had a job interview and didn’t have the right shirt, so I gave him mine.” After the second time, he came home missing a piece of clothing I stopped asking where his clothes were and began asking if we needed to go to the store and buy more.

He had a couple of motivational mottos. One was, “If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly.” Meaning, be the biggest, badest, and best that you can be. The second one, “You return the way you left.” I learned that one literally. It was my first long distance bike ride. From home in Hollywood to South Beach. I told him my plan, and he said, “Wow, that’s far, you think you’re ready?” I said yep, ready. The next morning, I started my ride early in the morning before the sunrise taking A1A all the way to South Pointe Park. It took me about 2 hours 30 minutes to get there. Then I called him and told him I made it, 20 miles! After the high fives over the phone, I said to him I don’t know how I’m going to make it back; I’m exhausted. His response was, “you know the motto in our house.” I said yes, “You return the way you left.”

It wasn’t pretty, but approximately 3 ½ hours later I made it home, a total of 40 miles (long for a beginner). He was waiting inside and said, “I knew you could do it”! I was exhausted, but I knew at that moment how he felt with his powerlifting and soaring sky high like an eagle. I also knew how much he believed in me and that meant everything.

Michael was, is, and will also be my family, my best friend, and the love of my life.

I owe all that I am to Michael. I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am, or what I am today without him.

I will be forever grateful to have had Michael in my life for 30 years.

Michael always made me laugh. He was loyal and a never-failing confidant. All I have accomplished in my life is because Michael was my “Rock.”

Michael and I will be forever linked in true love and friendship on the Thin Blue Line Observation Bridge.


My Family Legacy

March 14, 2019

Edward J Akins

Edward J. Akins

Edward J. Akins
Paterson (NJ) Police Department

Hello, my name is Edward J. Akins; at the age of 25 I began my career in Law Enforcement as a Correctional Officer for the State of New Jersey. After completing the State Academy in Seagirt, New Jersey, I was stationed at Northern State Prison in Newark.

After two years with the Corrections Department, I was offered a position with the Paterson Police Department. Grateful for this new opportunity, I accepted and went back to the Police Academy for a second time. I successfully completed the Bergen County Police Training academy and upon completion began my new position as a Patrol Officer with Paterson.

My father, (Edward M. Akins, Jr.) was the first in my family to become involved with Law Enforcement. After volunteering as a class #1 special officer he went on to be a Correctional Officer followed by a Patrol Officer for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department. He is about to complete his 23rd year and is now the rank of Captain.

My Brother, (Edward M. Akins III) is also a Paterson Police Officer. The two of us had the unique opportunity of attending the Police Academy together. We sat side by side throughout the entire process, supporting each other on that journey till the day we graduated.

My sister (Meagan Akins) is a Totowa Police Officer and the first female officer in the history of the borough. Before Totowa, she volunteered in Haledon as both a class #1 and class #2 special officer.

Today, all Four of us continue to work for our departments striving to excel every day. It is an absolute honor to serve my community with my family by my side.


March 1, 2019

John Plevell

John Plevell

John Plevell
Citrus County Sheriff’s Office

Hi, my name is John Plevell, I started in law enforcement on October 15, 1978. During this time frame, I worked for two small police departments. In April of 1979 I was involved in a pursuit in which I was injured, four others were hurt, and one died. After being hired by Citrus County I spent two years on the road, at that point I had the option of SWAT or CID, to me CID seemed more appealing. In 1986 I became a Daddy (Kristen). I got remarried to a lady (Diana) who worked CSI.

After working CID and receiving 100% Clearance Rate Blue Ribbon Award, some of my career assignments were robbery, theft, fraud, career criminal, pawn shops, special investigation, gangs and homicide. Some highlights of my career: seizing 780 lbs marijuana, seizing a Cessna airplane and a Mercedes Benz, arrest ref counterfeit Rolex watches, shutting down internet casino cafes. I was involved in working Florida’s first female serial killer who was arrested convicted and put to death in in Florida death row.

I had the occasion to be on the ID Channel on cable to show two cases that we investigated. One was a death penalty case on Swamp Murders called Wrong Turn. The second case was also on Swamp Murders, called Preacher. I also initiated Crime Stoppers in our county during my career. I assisted on working approximately 30 cases of death investigations including four death penalty cases.

I attended the FBI National Academy class of 166, retired in October 2010.

My wife Diana and I

My wife Diana and I

I also donated my millennium badge and a set of cold case playing cards to the Museum. I’m enjoying homes in Daytona Beach, Tennessee mountains, lake house in Floral City and Dunnellon. Diana and I have been married for 22 years – several kids and great grand kids.

God Bless