N O V 2 0 1 6 D E C
Raised Red, White and Under the Shadow of Blue continued from page 13
Ptlm. Norman R. Thatcher, Sr., Badge #41, 1934.
Deputy Chief Thatcher, 2010 FBINAA Nat’l. Conference.
Full Dress Uniform – Warwick Police, 1934.
Det. Lt. David Thatcher, FBINAA – Session #217.
Ptlm. Norman R. Thatcher, Jr., Badge #70 , May 1962.
1991, David N. Thatcher, Sr., Rhode Island State Capitol
began working with the FBI’s Evidence Re- sponse Team dating back to 1994 and con- tinue to this day to provide them with routine in-service training and render hands-on assis- tance at working crime scenes. In 2004 I achieved what I term the highest achievement one can make in their law enforcement career when I was selected by the FBI to attend their National Academy (Session #217) located at Quantico, VA. My entire family was extremely proud regarding this prestigious appointment though needless to say that my father beamed with pride as he lived his life through me vicariously after retiring from law enforcement in 1982. Dad was present along with my wife, youngest son during the graduation ceremony held on April 11, 2004 along with approximately 150 other police officers and their families. This was a memorable experience unlike any other and a lifetime achievement which generally leads to promotional advancement and un- paralleled networking capabilities both na- tionally and internationally. Sadly, on August 25, 2006 a little more than 2 years after graduating from the FBI National Academy my father Norman R. Thatcher, Jr. died at the age of 68 of a mas- sive heart attack which was the end result of occupational stress and living with high blood pressure. Like my father and his father I too have a great love for country, family and the opportunity to have dedicated my life to pub- lic service and to have proudly grown up un- der that same banner of red, white and shadow of blue for which so many law enforcement personnel and their families have sacrificed to ensure the protection of our countries citizens and the American way of life. About the Author: Deputy Chief Thatcher retired in 2011 following a 30 year career in law enforcement and enjoys spending time with his wife of 41 years along with their four children and three granddaughters. He remains ac- tive in the FBINAA New England Chapter and providing crime scene training/assistance to police agencies includ- ing the FBI’s Evidence Response Team and is currently working on novel that highlights his 20 year career work- ing as an environmental crimes investigator for the State of Rhode Island.
in the Bureau of Criminal Identification sort- ing out the evidence room, processing prison- ers which included taking their photographs and fingerprints and trained how to develop negatives and film along with printing black and white photographs in the darkroom. This was a lifetime experience that would unknow- ingly provide me with a skill set that would one day be put to use in a similar career. The best of working at the police station was the op- portunity to see my Dad who had since been promoted to Detective Division along with his fellow investigators who strangely enough re- sembled the cast from the 1970’s TV sitcom Barney Miller . Dad who was half Polish could have easily passed for Wojohowitz. Like my father and grandfather my pas- sion was public service and the pursuit of a career in law enforcement which was partially realized in 1981 when I became a Rhode Is- land Capitol Police Officer though I soon re- alized that this was a position better suited for a retired officer and not someone like me who desired a more traditional law enforcement career. In 1991 I was selected for a position as a criminal investigator with a newly formed detective division tasked with investigating environmental crimes. In September of that year I attended the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy. Little did I know that my first week in training would proved to be life defining moment when I collapsed from heat exhaustion while a fellow classmate dropped beside me and subsequently died of a heart attack. This incident served to only strengthen my resolve to complete the train- ing and graduate alongside my fellow class- mates as quitting was never an option. During my career as a criminal investiga- tor, I was extremely fortunate to have had the ability to work with many local, state and fed- eral law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation which had an agent from the local Resident Agency office in Providence work with investigators from the DEM Office of Criminal Investigation. How- ever, the Bureau’s mission statement changed following tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Be- cause of unique skills which I possessed, i.e., the ability to locate forensic evidence with the aid of sophisticated electronic equipment I
wife of Patrolman Fratus or the two infant children that would grow up without a father. There is a very sobering statistic regard- ing male police officers and firefighters which calculates that the average lifespan for those public servants is just 67 years when com- pared to 73.6 for the American population. Environmental factors such as exposure to deadly chemicals at response scenes undoubt- edly play a role while though the most deadly and silent killer especially for law enforce- ment officers is occupational stress and the elevated risk of heart attacks and or strokes. My Dad was an occasional cigarette smoker before joining the police department but the number of packs smoked jumped consider- ably. Job related stress does not always re- main behind at the station once a shift has ended and often ends up being carried home. Midway through his career my father’s blood pressure began to gradually increase which became very noticeable (265/110) to his fam- ily and friends requiring medical attention including high doses of medication to bring his BP down to “acceptable levels”. I remember as a young teenager having my fair share of school yard fist fights defend- ing what my father did for a living and when police officers were referred to as “pigs”. Un- fortunately bullying back in the late 60’s and early 70’s did not receive the attention which it does today and it is difficult to try and ex- plain what it was like growing up in a law en- forcement household during those turbulent times. It just so happened that in 1972 my Dad was working the beat where I attended high school. One day he was driving by at the same time I was outside during gym playing tennis. A student standing on the other side of the net looked over at my Dad as he drove by in his squad car commenting “pig”. I ca- sually walked up to that person and pulled him by the tee shirt into my face and stated “That’s no pig, that’s my father”. An apology was immediately forthcoming. In 1972 I joined the Law Enforcement Explorers Program and became a Police Cadet with Warwick Police Department and subse- quently chosen to work in their Detective Di- vision for that summer. I was assigned to work
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