Service to My Community

February 14, 2019

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.


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.

Deputy Cameron’s Story

November 13, 2018

Bryan Cameron

Bryan Cameron

Bryan Cameron
Deputy Sheriff, Orange County (VA) Sheriff’s Office

My name is Bryan Cameron and I am a Deputy Sheriff in Orange County, Virginia. My law enforcement career began in 2013 and has changed my life in so many ways. This career, while rewarding, has offered many challenges. I have experienced seeing citizens on their best days and their worst. Even with the ups and downs of enforcing the law, I have found that the calling of serving my community has been the greatest reward that I could have earned. This career reminds me to be grateful for all I have and to cherish every moment. It is an honor to be added to the museum as a life member among many heroes of this profession. God Bless America and the Thin Blue Line.

Joe’s life as a Police Officer

November 6, 2018

Joe in uniform

Joseph Tempalsky

Joseph Tempalsky
Detective Lieutenant (Ret.), Linden (NJ) Police Department

I’m writing this story of my dad’s life as a police officer because I am proud of him and he is too proud to write something about himself. My dad Joseph “Joe” was a Linden Police Officer for 37 years in Linden NJ, the town he grew up in. He graduated from Linden High School in 1956 and went directly into the US Navy. In 1960, he Joined the Linden Police Department (LPD) and a year later, married my mom, to whom he is still married. He has two sons both of whom are also career police officers.

Joe spent several years as a uniformed Patrol Officer before being assigned to the Traffic Bureau in 1967. It was in this assignment where he would, along with three other officers, save the life of a 22-month-old infant. Though this was the first life Joe would save, it would not be the last, as he would have a hand in saving the lives of four more people in his time on the job. He had an eventful career including an assignment to the City of Plainfield, NJ to help quell the civil unrest that took the life of a uniformed Plainfield Police Officer who was a beaten to death by a mob.

In 1968, Joe was awarded the Police Officer of the Year and then he was promoted to Detective a year later. In 1970, he was re-assigned to the new Special Investigations Unit (SIU) where he would successfully work scores of drug and organized crime investigations with his partner John Kimak. Joe and John also worked with the new Union County Prosecutors Narcotic Strike Force where they established a reputation as hardworking team players.

In 1972, Joe received a commendation for his work in solving a murder and arresting the suspect, the same year he went back to school at Union County College where he would receive his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. In 1976, he was promoted to Sergeant and reassigned to the Patrol division. Soon thereafter he received another commendation for arresting a suspect in several rapes. Joe had an eventful three years back in Patrol gathering another commendation for the arrest of two armed robbers, one of whom he was nearly forced to shoot before he dropped his gun.

In 1979, Joe was reassigned back to SIU as a supervisor and in 1981 he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant. He stayed in SIU for another five years having a great time with the young narcs Frankie Leporino and Louie Stanicki before being moved into the position of Commander of the Detective Bureau in 1987. Joe remained as the Detective Bureau Commander for the next 10 years and was inducted into the New Jersey Legion of Honor in 1996. In 1997 he took a well-deserved retirement, moving to sunny South Carolina with his wife Beverly.

Joe Tempalsky is the most honest, hardworking, ethical cop I ever met in my 35 years on the job. He earned his retirement, but not a day goes by that he doesn’t miss the job, I can tell. He recently went on a ride-along and it was as if he never left and I’m sure he would gladly be back at work at LPD if he could. Joe is proud of his time as a Police Officer and we, his family, are proud of him. He gave his best to the Linden Police Department and he set a high bar for the rest of us.

Honor, Integrity, and Service

October 29, 2018

Todd Putorti

Todd Putorti

Todd Putorti
Chief Investigator, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Division of Field Investigation

Hello, my name is Todd Putorti. I joined the New York Start Department of Motor Vehicles, Division of Field Investigation, in 2003, because I wanted to help ensure identity integrity and prevent fraud in a post-9/11 world. While in college I worked part-time as a cemetery groundskeeper. In January 2002, I had the honor to attend to the funeral of a 9/11 WTC victim. When the opportunity came to be hired as an investigator with the NYS DMV, I cherished the opportunity to work to protect the identity records and document issuance process to honor that victim and all those that lost their lives that fateful day. I’m so honored to be remembered in this Museum, because I am proud of my country, community, and the law enforcement family.

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles

New York Start Department of Motor Vehicles, Division of Field Investigation patch

Police Career

October 22, 2018

Harlan Hogue

Harlan Hogue

Harlan Hogue
Sergeant, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia

My name is Harlan Hogue and I joined the MPDC on January 5,1970. I spent sixteen years as a crime scene search officer. I was prompted to sergeant in 1989. I retired in August 1996 and rejoined MPDC in January 1997 and spent seventeen years assigned to the youth division. I retired in June 2014.

It’s Not a Career, But a Calling

October 17, 2018

Jon Hil

Jon Hil

Jon Hil
First Sergeant, Maryland State Police

A career in law enforcement cannot be classified as a job, but as a calling; for the motivations necessary to be successful in the profession must come from within. If a person pursues the field to gain power, authority, just to carry a gun, or any other material factor, they will surely fail. The motivation to serve as a law enforcement officer must be rooted in one’s desire to serve others, to advocate for the most vulnerable of our society, and as our Superintendent William Pollozzi says, “do the right thing for the right reason.” It is a calling fraught with times of tragedy, tough decisions, much regret, criticism, and many thankless moments. One that can take a toll on an officer, their family and friends physically, emotionally, and psychologically. But at the same time, it is a calling of great reward. To know you made a positive difference in the life of a someone or in the community you serve is invaluable and what should drive each of us in our career path.

As I neared the end of my high school career, I started to examine my own situation and realized that I was fortunate to be set up for success by many people that had taken the time to invest in me. My parents, teachers, coaches, extended family, friends, neighbors, and our church community had all played a role in setting me on a positive path. It was my position on this path that set me up for vast opportunity for success in whatever my future endeavors would be. It was at that moment that I realized that a debt was owed to all of those who invested in me that I could never afford to repay. I’m a firm believer in the fact that each of us is entrusted with talents and we have a great responsibility to use those talents in a way to serve others and to better the world we live in. For me, my talents were rooted in athletics. Strength, coordination, size, and athletic ability were a gift entrusted to me, and while they were not enough to carry me into a professional career as an athlete, they did lend themselves to a calling in law enforcement. Coupling my talents with an intrinsic desire to serve those that served me, a career in law enforcement, I believe, was my true calling.

"The Investors"- With a group of my Liberty High School teachers, some 20 years after I graduated.

“The Investors”- With a group of my Liberty High School teachers, some 20 years after I graduated.

Throughout my career I have worked to make the community I serve a better place and hope that every person in which I have interacted has been left in a position that is better than where they were before I met them. This should be one of the goals of every law enforcement officer, regardless of department, rank, unit, or length of service. Our profession is one of honor, courage, and integrity. These are not just words, but a necessary way of life for those who are truly called to this profession and that make the positive difference in the communities they serve.

Life Changing Career

October 12, 2018

Denise Cummings

Denise Cummings

Denise Cummings
Police Officer, Aurora (CO) Police Department

My story starts with my Uncle Nick who was a police officer for Cicero, Illinois, Police Department. He used to let me dry fire his revolver at a target when I was only 10 years old. I knew I would be an officer someday inspired by his stories. I tried another career first and was bored silly so when I turned 25, I decided it was time to live my dream. I applied with the Aurora, Colorado, Police Department in 1977 and was put on a hiring list. Only 20 people were going to be hired from that list and I was down at #42.

I then applied and was accepted as a reserve officer (voluntary position) for the same department hoping it would improve my chances next time I applied. I had four months of training as a reserve officer and just before graduation, I got word that for the first time ever, the city was hiring another 20 officers from the same list! I was still #42, but I was called up for the regular department due to others on the list leaving. I graduated as a reserve officer on May 19, 1978, did my first assignment as security for a parade on May 21, 1978, resigned the reserves after the parade and started the police academy on May 22, 1978. I went through the very first FTO program they had and loved it.

I had a substitute FTO during my training for just one night and he scared me, and I did not like him at all. Three years later, I married him! Talk about life changing! We had three children together. My son is a medically-retired Army soldier with full pension and is now a detention officer for Aurora. My daughter is a MA2 (cop!) in the Navy.

I worked as a patrol officer for a year, got invited to traffic after handling a fatal accident solo while still in training and worked graveyard on the DUI task force for several years. During that time, I got my nose broken twice (requiring surgery both times) due to drunks and a pcp suspect. I decided I wanted to teach and became an FTO in 1980. I married the love of my life, Dave Cummings (also an APD officer) on February 19, 1981. I continued as a Field Training Officer for the rest of my career training new recruits, lateral recruits and problem recruits any time they had one. I saved most of them!

In 1990, the local newspaper, the Denver Post, asked to do an article about me and my husband since we worked together on the street much of the time. The picture you see is from the cover of the Sunday Magazine in the Denver Post and there was a three-page article with photos of us and our daily routine as they followed us from home to daycare and to work.

Denver Post Sunday Magazine Cover March 11, 1990

Denver Post Sunday Magazine Cover March 11, 1990

The HARDEST thing I ever had to do was handling SIDS death cases because in 1993 my own son Nicolas Joseph Cummings (July 9, 1993 – December 15, 1993) died of SIDS. I trained with the SIDS program in Colorado to help others and both my husband and I asked and were called to handle many SIDS cases after that since we could share our story and put others at ease in a very difficult situation. It was therapy for us as well.

My husband always said that being a cop was a ticket to the greatest show on earth. You will see it all and then some; bad and good both. You will have a lifetime of stories to tell and laugh at and heartbreaks when you lose friends. Is it worth it? YOU BET IT IS!!!