Updates

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!!!

A Career That Few Will Ever Know

October 10, 2018

Scott Stargel

Scott Stargel

Scott Stargel
Supervisory Special Agent, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and United States Park Police (USPP)


In 1987, I began my career as a police officer with the United States Park Police (USPP). My first assignment was uniform patrol on the Baltimore/Washington Parkway and then, a couple of years later, worked as a plains clothes investigator in the narcotics and vice unit. In 1993, I was promoted to sergeant responsible for protecting the national ICONs in DC then later as a supervisor in the DC Joint Fugitive Task Force. In 1996, I was selected to lead a SWAT team. From parades to Presidential protection, the highway to undercover, every day was a new adventure in protecting and serving the public.

In 1998, I began the second half of my career as a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and was assigned to the Baltimore Field Division. This role led to major criminal investigative work to include the 9/11 investigation, the DC Sniper case and ATF’s first Title III investigation as a DOJ component. In 2007, I was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent to run the case management system in HQ and promoted again to the National Tracing Center before retiring in 2013 after 26+ years of federal law enforcement service.

 

Uniforms of the Day

Uniforms of the Day…A selection of photos reflecting different assignments during my career.


Over the course of 11 years with the USPP and 15 years with ATF, I had the opportunity to serve in several interesting roles but in the end, I had the pleasure to work with some great people. As dangerous as the profession can be, it’s the good times you remember the most and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. To all who served in the past, or in the present or will serve in the future, remember, this is a unique profession that few people will ever experience. Be proud of what you do and be safe in how you do it but above all, have fun!

Detective Stephen Thibodeau

October 8, 2018

Detective Stephen Thibodeau

Stephen Thibodeau

Stephen Thibodeau
Detective, Ocala (FL) Police Department


Officer Stephen Thibodeau started his Law Enforcement career by joining a Gainesville Florida Police Explorer post as a teenager. After high school, he attended the Santa Fe College Law Enforcement Academy. He was later employed by the Waldo Florida Police Department as a part-time patrol officer.

In 1987, Officer Thibodeau was employed as a full-time police officer by the Ocala Florida Police Department. He served in the Community Policing Patrol Division for four years. In 1991, he was promoted to Corporal and transferred to the Investigative Services Division. He served as a Major Crimes Detective for the next twenty-one years. In 2012, Detective Thibodeau was reassigned to a Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in the Jacksonville Division. Deputized as a United States Marshal and FBI Special Federal Officer, Detective Thibodeau served as a full-time Task Force Officer on a Federal violent crimes Task Force for the next five years. In 2017, Detective Thibodeau retired from full-time employment after thirty-one years of service to the citizens of his community.

Detective Thibodeau posing guard as part of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Honor Guard in Washington, DC on May 15th.

Detective Thibodeau posing guard as part of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Honor Guard in Washington, DC on May 15th.

 

During his distinguished career, Officer Thibodeau received eighty-seven commendations and awards from various local, state and federal agencies. The awards include two Distinguished Police Officer medals, two Chief’s Award of Merit, and the first Vance Ferguson Award of Merit for investigative excellence.

Officer Thibodeau continues his public service as Reserve Police Officer, a local CrimeStoppers board member, and a Security Coordinator for a North Central Florida College.

It’s my honor to serve you!

October 4, 2018

James Adams

James Adams, Jr.

James Adams, Jr.
Sergeant, Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department/Dept. Of Correctional Services


Hi, my name is Ret. Sgt. James T. Adams, Jr. I joined the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department/Department of Correctional Services in April of 1993 when I was 27 years old, because I wanted to serve my community and continue a family legacy. My mother was employed as a member of the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office at the time of my hiring. One thing that surprised me about being a Law Enforcement Officer was the immediate gratitude and respect afforded to me. I never expected that level of gratitude. I’m sharing this because I want my community to know that I appreciate the support through the years and I’d do it all over again. I’m so honored to be remembered in this Museum, because this is unexpected. The job of policing is so necessary, it supports not only our daily interactions but, our way of life. I’m truly humbled and thankful.

2769# Sgt Adams Ready for duty

2769# Sgt Adams – Ready for duty

Proud to have served the citizens of Florida

October 2, 2018

Denise Warrick

Denise Warrick

Denise Warrick
Captain, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission


Hi, my name is Denise. I joined the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission in 1981 when I was 25 years old.

FWC Honor Guard 2016

FWC Honor Guard 2016

Public Service Is An Honor And A Privilege

Daniel DeSimone

Daniel DeSimone

Daniel DeSimone
Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation


As a young boy, I watched “The FBI” starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., on ABC most Sunday nights. My dream was to become an FBI Special Agent. I first joined the U.S. Air Force out of high school and served five years as a Security Police Officer. I later earned a degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In 1988, I was chosen to become a Special Agent in the FBI. I served in various roles of increasing responsibility in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, two tours at FBIHQ in Washington, DC and a special assignment in Rome, Italy. I joined the FBI to arrest fugitives and bank robbers, to investigate criminal enterprises and terror organizations – all of which I did. I was the case agent for FBI Top 10 Fugitive #448; I worked long term, deep undercover against the La Cosa Nostra in Las Vegas; I proudly led the FBI’s Undercover Program; and I served as the FBI’s lead during the Pope’s 2008 trip to the United States.

But one case taught me the most about being an FBI Agent. In 1994, a young, three-year-old boy was kidnapped and taken to a foreign country. What ensued was a rather intricate international rescue operation that resulted in the boy’s safe recovery. I still carry the picture of the young rescued boy in my wallet today. It shows his Grandmother crying tears of joy, and he is wearing the FBI hat I had just placed on him as he first arrived in America following his rescue. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that helping people meant even more than catching the most dangerous criminal or solving the most complex crime. And, that public service is truly and honor and a privilege.

Greatest job I ever had!

Paul Tashiro

Paul Tashiro

Paul Tashiro
Sergeant , Santa Cruz County (CA) Sheriff’s Office


I was appointed as Deputy Sheriff with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, California, on March 20, 1987. I was promoted to Sergeant in 2004. I’m due to retire November 16, 2018 after 31 years of service to my community. I worked every bureau and my highlight assignments were: bomb squad, gang investigations, school resource officer, search and rescue, field training officer and field training sergeant.

Paul Tashiro 1987 to 2018

Mahatma Gandhi said it well: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I did just that! I’ve been a public servant since the mid-1970s. From my days with the Boy Scouts, the fire dept., law enforcement and to one of my favorite community organizations: Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes. My work defined me and made me who I am today!

As my career comes to a close, I was thinking about my most challenging moment physically and mentally at work. The 1989 Loma Prieta-San Francisco earthquake came to mind. Probably the biggest natural disaster I had ever been involved in. I had to leave family behind during their greatest time of need from me. My son was only 2 weeks old. The first 3 days were chaotic and we all worked straight through with no sleep. There was no food or water available and our command post was a used bread truck converted into a command center in front of the county building. To survive, we ate food and drank water from the kindness of people cooking what was left of their food on their front lawns. We had no power for days. We eventually organized, and I ended up on 12 hour shifts for 3 weeks straight with no days off. Greatest moment of my work life!

1989 earthquake photo of house off its foundation. Photo of me serving on the food line at PV Loaves & Fishes and me in 1990 next to my patrol car

1989 earthquake photo of house off its foundation. Photo of me serving on the food line at PV Loaves & Fishes and me in 1990 next to my patrol car

I will miss the people I worked with side-by-side in the face of danger every shift. I forged lifetime friendships in this business and leaving them behind is truly sad. But I am excited for the next chapter in my life outside of law enforcement. And yes, it involves rolling sushi and bartending part-time to have fun, stay busy, active and social.

Law enforcement was the greatest job I ever had, and I would do it all over again if I could!

Mission Statement for Life

September 27, 2018

Nicholas Augustine

Nicholas Augustine

Nicholas Augustine
Captain, Montgomery County (MD) Police Department


There is a joke in my family that I was “destined” to be a police officer. Not just because it ran in the family blood as my father and both his brothers had careers in law enforcement, but my mother was transported “code 3” in my dad’s police car to the hospital while in labor with me.

Twenty-one years later, September 13, 2001, I was sworn as a police officer within the same county my family had served. With graduation just being two days after the attacks of 9/11, my young eyes opened to the new threats facing our community.

During my years as a patrol officer, I enjoyed conducting traffic enforcement. Every officer has their part of police work that they enjoy more than another. My thought was traffic safety affects the lives of everyone from infant to senior. Collision investigation inspired me to apply to be a Detective with the Collision Reconstruction Unit which investigates collisions involving death or life-threatening injuries – a rewarding position by serving grieving families after their love ones unexpectedly died. No one “plans” to die from a motor vehicle collision.

Another rewarding position was being a tactical medic for our SWAT team. While 99% of the incidents did not require the use of the medic, being available for the team members and the community was rewarding.

I have been fortunate to be promoted with my agency to the rank of Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain. I am often asked “what was your favorite period as a police officer?” I enjoyed being a patrol Sergeant as I was still answering the calls for service, providing mentoring for new officers, being the decision maker, and leading a team.

One lesson I would pass on to anyone is to create a personal mission statement to guide you in life. Every organization, business, or group, has a mission statement to state the organization’s purpose, goal, values, and future vison. As a person, take a moment to write out what your mission is in your life. When you are having those bad days, take out that mission statement and use it to guide you to overcome.

My Mission Statement

To live a life of service to others through honesty, integrity, and fairness.

Eventually after I move on from law enforcement, I want to be remembered as having a positive impact on “someone.” I may never know who the person is or how I affected their life but I will be satisfied knowing that in 25+ years of service I made a difference.

With my parents on the day of my promotion ceremony to the rank of Sergeant

With my parents on the day of my promotion ceremony to the rank of Sergeant