Updates

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
Deputy
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.

~TOGETHER FOREVER

My Family Legacy

March 14, 2019

Edward J Akins

Edward J. Akins

Edward J. Akins
Officer
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.

A COP’S LIFE

March 1, 2019

John Plevell

John Plevell

John Plevell
Detective/CPL
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

A Special Agent’s Story

February 21, 2019

Clyde Foreman

Clyde Foreman

Clyde Foreman
Police Officer/Detective/Supervisory Special Agent/Chief of Operations
Bellingham Police/Costa Mesa Police/FBI/Chelan County Sheriff’s Office


The daily ritual of holstering a firearm, pinning on a badge, and stepping out the front door into a world of unknowns to go to work was my life for thirty-five years. The weapons changed, the badges changed, the uniforms even changed, but the commitment to serve and protect the citizens of this country from “all enemies, foreign and domestic” never wavered. It has been said that “time changes all things”. In law enforcement that statement is true as it relates to changes in the law, investigative priorities, technology, and the morality of our society. However, I believe that some things never change. Evil and good are universal forces locked in a never-ending battle for the hearts and minds of men. The ramifications of that struggle ensure job security for LEO’s in perpetuity.

My story is not unique in the over all scope of law enforcement. I was fortunate to tread a well-worn path that was illuminated by the lives of good men and women that came before me, walked along side me, and mentored me. I hope that in some small way I have repaid their efforts by passing on some of those life lessons, to a future generation of police officers, FBI Special Agents, and Sheriff’s Deputies.

One of the seminal moments in my early life occurred at Queen Anne Jr/Sr. High School in Seattle, WA. I was sitting in class and it was career day. We didn’t have movies, or DVD’s in those days -we had pamphlets that described a career and had a black and white picture of someone in the career field. Spread out before me on my desk were three pamphlets, “Becoming a Military Officer”, “A Career as an Airline Pilot”, and “FBI Special Agent”. I was reading the FBI agent pamphlet when the classroom phone rang and our teacher took the call and then left the room. Several moments later she returned with tears streaming down her face. She was unable to speak and then blurted out “The President has been assassinated in Dallas Texas”. The day was November 22, 1963. I sat in my chair stunned with the news; silence permeated the classroom as we were left alone with our thoughts. I began to wonder “what if I become an FBI agent, could I ever help keep something like this from happening again.

Congratulations from FBI SAC Jim Freeman for a job well done. Congratulations from FBI SAC Jim Freeman for a job well done.

Over my career I saw two types of officers and special agents-warriors and worriers. Warriors are proactive, selfless, and eager to step into harms way to do the right thing. Worriers are paralyzed by analysis wondering “how will this effect my career?” The best leaders I worked with were “servant leaders”. They cared for their subordinates and put their wellfare first. Servant leaders accept blame and give praise.

My best prank? We typed up and circulated a transfer memo on the Chief of Police’s personal stationary. The memo was distributed department wide on a Friday afternoon announcing the immediate transfer of six Lieutenants to new assignments. The memo was read at roll call over the weekend and became gospel! Monday morning saw the lieutenants and two Captains sitting in the COP office embittered, fired up and wanting an explanation. When they realized thay had been pranked they did not handle it well at all!

Proudest moments in my career were pinning badges on both my sons Chris and Brian when they graduated from their respective police academies. Also, watching five young boys in our neighborhood grow up and have successful careers in LE.

One of the principals that I authenticated in my career is that it is an honor to serve along side men and women who are willing to step into harms way. It is a sacred trust to represent those who have worn the badge before you. Never tarnish the badge by your conduct. Your personal integrity is your strongest armor. No one can take it from you, only you can take it off.

Passing the torch to the next generation of LEO’s is your calling. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, “Here am I. Send me”. Isaiah 6:8

NYPD Detective Michael Hinrichs

February 14, 2019

Michael Hinrichs

Michael Hinrichs

Michael Hinrichs
Detective First Grade, New York City Police Department


Detective Michael Hinrichs, grandson of a NYPD Detective, was appointed to the NYPD in July of 1984. After serving as a uniformed patrol officer and then as a plain-clothes Anti-crime officer in Brooklyn’s 67th precinct, he was promoted to Detective in 1994. He was later transferred to the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad where he remained for the next 16+ years, solving many high-profile cases. While he was assigned to the Homicide Squad, he was promoted to Detective First Grade, the highest rank for NYPD Detectives. Detective Hinrichs was one of the most decorated police officers in NYPD history, receiving over 200 awards, medals and citations, including the NYPD Combat Cross (twice), and the Medal of Valor (twice).

Detective Michael Hinrichs and his two sons at NYPD Medal Day 1996

Detective Michael Hinrichs and his two sons at NYPD Medal Day 1996

Detective Hinrichs retired in 2014, after suffering a stroke. Upon his recovery, he continues to serve the NYPD as a volunteer Peer Support Officer and Trauma Counselor.

On a personal note, being selected to represent the NYPD during the dedication of the Law Enforcement Memorial in 1991, was a truly proud and humbling moment. During my 30+ year career, including several years as a Homicide Detective and especially during and after the 911 Terror attacks, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with police officers from all over our great country. Along with my NYPD family, the men and women that I have met in law enforcement, from towns and cities big and small, were some of the most honest, loyal, dedicated, and brave people you could ever know. It is an honor and privilege to be included in this museum with so many special people.

“LEST WE FORGET”

A Journey- Blind

Lee Darnell

Lee Darnell

Lee Darnell
Sergeant/Public Information Officer, Pitt County (NC) Sheriff’s Office


Sometimes in life we start down a path with eyes wide open yet have no clue that we are completely blind. It isn’t until later, when looking back, that your jaw drops and you realize the path you’d taken.

I grew up as a poor kid living in the middle of nowhere. My dad had been an officer since I was five and it just felt normal to me. In the summer when school was out, I’d go with him to court to sit and watch the trials. I’d even ride along on patrol sometimes for fun. Yes, I was too young, but it was a different time.

I became a dispatcher for the sheriff’s office at age 16 while still in high school. Yes, too young. Turned out I was pretty good at it. I went to the Police Academy at the age of 19. Too young. I graduated at 20 and became a police officer. At 21 they were crazy enough to make me a sergeant. At 22 I took the helm as chief of police. Again, I was too young, but it was a different time and a very small-town department. As far as I know, I was the youngest police chief in the nation.

After a few years I got sick of small town politics (town board members- you can’t arrest him… he’s my family…you need to tear up that ticket because they said they weren’t going that fast…go borrow a drug dog so we can go door to door looking for drugs at that apartment complex… buy me a badge it’s okay.. YES, REALLY). I threw my uniform on the doorstep of a commissioner and quit. I stayed sworn with the sheriff but completed an AAS degree in EMS (paramedic), a BS in hospital administration, of all things, and an MBA with a human resources concentration. I did one semester of law school and headed home unhappy.

Most of my career in law enforcement was part-time or reserve while I worked “real” jobs with good pay. I taught at a few colleges. I managed EMS agencies. I ran a hospital emergency room. I hopped around for a few years playing here and there doing everything imaginable. Suddenly, after a tough spell in a job I found myself unemployed and had to soul search for where I belonged. It went right back to law enforcement. After a year working the jail I moved to patrol as the only rookie officer with over 20 years of experience!

After some years I transferred to be a school resource officer at a minority middle school where the kids came from a scary world that I had never experienced. Instead of making me tougher or difficult, they touched my soul and I was never the same again. I taught DARE in an elementary school. KIDS MADE IT THE BEST JOB EVER! By then I was patient, had found some common sense, and could look beyond the badge to just help the kids regardless of their struggle. I was more of a social worker, mentor, teacher, chocolate store, and parent than a cop. I am still in touch with many of those kids because they really are “mine.”

In my 40s I learned what an officer really is and can be. I learned the positive impact that can be made when you truly care and see the big picture. I also learned the impact of others who did not see things that way. Those kids taught me more about life in 3 years than 40 years of life had. One day when a new sheriff took the oath new orders dropped. A sergeant badge got pinned on my chest (two decades after my last sgt badge) and I was transferred into the office as the Public Relations & Information Officer. I love showing and telling the world what real, caring law enforcement is about. I love showing the community just how much we really do care and explaining the law enforcement world in ways that no one but us could understand. I’ve become addicted to Facebook and get paid to play there every day. I’m proud of where I am in life and work. I’m proud to have had an odd path getting here and how it shaped me. Only 6-7 more years until retirement. I don’t know what awaits me in those remaining years or what is coming when the gun belt drops for the last time. My days will still be spent loving people and serving people though. I’ll still be learning about people and life. 10-42

Service to My Community

Taylor Andersen

Taylor Andersen

Taylor Andersen
Detective, New Bern (NC) Police Department


I’m Taylor Andersen, a Detective with the New Bern Police Department. I started my law enforcement career in 2013 with the Chesapeake Police Department in Virginia. During my law enforcement career I’ve spent the majority of my time in patrol where I have had the pleasure of serving the community on a daily basis. More recently, I have been assigned to a fugitive task force that works in North Carolina. On top of my law enforcement duties I am a reservist in the United States Coast Guard, I have a wife and young son. I still enjoy going to work every day knowing that I, along with my brothers and sisters, continue to make a difference in the lives of the citizens we serve.

Taylor Andersen receiving a valor award for saving the life of a baby only minutes old.

Receiving a valor award for saving the life of a baby only minutes old.

Blessed Career

January 22, 2019

Picture taken next to Vince Lombardi mural while working security during Green Bay Packer games.

Michael Wanta

Michael Wanta
Detective, Green Bay (WI) Police Department


I was able to complete a personally truly satisfying 28-year career at the Green Bay Police Department. During those years, I elected not to go into any supervisory positions and instead chose to catch bad guys my entire career. With the love and support of my wife and family, I was able to pick and choose opportunities that let me be the kind of police officer that I wanted to be.

I started the first 10 years by working in the dark on the night shift patrol and power shift patrol. After that, I was able to go back and forth among jobs that I enjoyed, doing two tours as a community police officer and two tours as a narcotics investigator. Being a narcotics officer was the most fulfilling job I had. It was truly a ‘seek and destroy’ job, with real consequences for the people who brought so much destruction to the city. I also worked for a year as the range master, where I enjoyed developing and implementing training for our officers. It was a good fit for me, as I was also a unified tactical instructor teaching at the local technical college and doing training for the swat team. Ultimately, being an investigator called me back and I finished my last 7 years as a detective. Things seemed to come full circle, as I got to work again with some of my good friends that I started with back on the night shift.

I kept all of these jobs interesting by working on foot, in squads, on bikes, on motorcycles, on boats, in tactical vehicles and undercover. Along the way, I enjoyed 17 years on the SWAT team, rising to the position of assistant team leader. I also thoroughly enjoyed working on the Marine Unit, where I was also an assistant team leader. Add in working approximately 250 Green Bay Packer football games, and you have a very full career. It all passed in the blink of an eye. In retirement, you start to forget about the bad times, and instead try to remember the good times and all the satisfaction the job gave to you. It was truly a blessed career.

Stay Safe!

Mike Wanta
Retired, Green Bay PD
Green Bay, WI

A Life of Service

January 8, 2019

Paul Sheldon

Paul Sheldon

Paul Sheldon
Sergeant, Tucson (AZ) Police Department


Since I was a small child, I was drawn to law enforcement. Looking back on it, I’m not completely sure why. No one in my family was a cop but becoming one was my dream. After high school I joined the United States Marine Corps. During my service I obtained the rank of Sergeant and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. I was honorably discharged and hired by the City of Tucson to live my dream and become a police officer.

My career began on the west side of Tucson where I was able to gain valuable experience in gangs, drugs and basically every crime known to man. After 5 years, I achieved my new goal and was selected to join the department’s Service Dog Unit. I remained there for almost 10 years and worked with two amazing K-9 partners, Kegan and Kimo. The impact this time had on my life led me to write and publish a book, For the Love of a K-9.

I left the dog unit after scoring high enough in our promotional process to be promoted to Sergeant. After that promotion I was sent to the Midtown division to begin my job running squads of fellow officers. It was an assignment I took very seriously and always tried to do the best I could by my people. After a year and a half of that I was assigned to a plain clothes unit that was responsible for combatting neighborhood crimes.

Most recently I was assigned back to the Service Dog Unit as the supervisor. It is one of the highest honors I’ve ever been given. To return to a unit that meant so much to my career is amazing.

Outside of work I developed a passion for distance sports. Through those races I was introduced to Team Hoyt. They are a running group that focuses on inclusion by pushing disabled athletes through races they otherwise could not compete in. My work with this charity led to me being awarded the “Unsung Hero” award. I am still taken back when I see that award on my desk. I did not require recognition, I ran with them out of love.

Looking back on my career and looking forward I have learned that love is the key ingredient. I frequently teach at our academy and I always teach to treat everyone you contact as if they are a family member. Granted, some people will reject your efforts, but it is still worth the time.

I admire and respect every person who puts the badge on their chest. It is not an easy job and sometimes our brothers and sisters don’t make it home. Those have been my hardest moments. For the last five years I have attended too many funerals to count. I have also attended Police Week for five years in a row. It is my honor and my duty to pay my continual respect to those who sacrificed everything for the greater good.

I am honored to be a part of the law enforcement family and the museum. If you are an officer or intending to become one… please, wear your vest and constantly work to improve your tactics.

I’ll close with the verse I have held close to my chest my entire career. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth. But the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Be righteous, be bold!

37 Years of Fighting Crime in America

December 31, 2018

James D'Amelio

James D'Amelio

James D’Amelio
Special Agent in Charge (SAIC), U.S. Secret Service


Below is a biography of a man (my father) who dedicated 37 years of his life both in the Federal Government (26 with the U.S. Secret Service) and an additional eleven as a Vice President of Security and Fraud Control for MasterCard International.

Special Agent James R. D’Amelio conducted hundreds of undercover operations worldwide, as well as many protective missions including President John F. Kennedy through Ronald Reagan.

He served in multiple positions to include: Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) – Office of Investigations; DAD – Office of Administration, SAIC – Philadelphia Field Office, SAIC – Pittsburgh Field Office, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAIC) – Boston Field Office; Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge (ATSAIC) – New York Field Office; Special Agent – New York Field Office.

Synopsis

James D’Amelio was born on January 31, 1933, in Malden, Massachusetts. D’Amelio served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955 and was honorably discharged.

After his military tenure, D’Amelio became a U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in 1959 and served for over 26 years until his retirement in September 1985.

In 1973, D’Amelio received the U.S. Secret Service Valor Award, a medal given to distinguished individuals recognized for great courage in the face of danger. Over an eight year period, SA D’Amelio investigated and exposed counterfeit corruption working as an undercover agent in many dangerous investigations amongst some of the Nation’s most violent criminals.

Later Years

After many years conducting and overseeing investigative and protective missions for the U.S. Secret Service, D’Amelio retired and served with MasterCard International in New York City as a Vice President for Security and Fraud Control for over 11 years. In this position, D’Amelio assisted in implementing multiple security features to thwart credit card fraud, many of the best practices are still being used by the credit card industry today, such as the credit card security hologram, credit card verification code (located on the back of all credit cards, e.g., CCV, CVC), and other critical security enhancements.

In total, Jim D’Amelio helped fight global crime for over 37 years to protect all Americans.