Officer Skater DudeToday I went to the funeral of Officer skater dude. Thats what my son would call him. Not Bryan, Not Officer Black, but Officer skater dude. I watched Bryan grow up. He lived on the next street over from us. His mom at one point, worked for us. And Bryan was a great guy. A decent guy. We owned a liquor store and before Bryan became a cop, he was what we in a shore community call a "rent a cop" He was just out of high school and he became a boardwalk bike patrol cop. No gun, or special training. Just someone who would ride the boardwalk and keep people safe radioing the real cops. The cops in shops division approached him to do Cops in Shops duty. That is where an underage person comes into a liquor store and attempts to buy liquor. Its a good program, but from the view point of the liquor store owner, it can be sticky. They will try to trick you. Its to keep you honest and aware. But I've gotten off the track. Bry actually gave us a heads up that he was gonna be in. He didn't have to, and frankly, because I knew him, I wouldn't of sold to him. I would have called his mama instead. But he cared about us as a small business. He knew the workers and didn't want to put them in a position where they might be uncomfortable. He was kind and generous. And he was a skate boarder.
Bry eventually became a cop. He had several other jobs first. He worked in a night club as a bouncer. That bike riding gig was only a summer job after high school. He went to the police academy. But he never shook off his skater dude personane. The older cops seemed to like him, but he was not like them. He had spikey hair. He kept it one color, which is a change from when he was a teen! Watching him grow up, it was entertaining. You never knew what color hair he was going to have from week to week. Or how much metal he could fit up his ear. He was different, but I think his brother officers loved him. They accepted him. And kids? Well....kids (at least those who skate, like my son) just loved him. They respected him. They listened to him. They trusted him. I don't know what they will do now. Who will take his place? Who will be the guy who is sent to disperse them when they are waxing a curb or doing ollies. Of course if it was Bry that was called....he was often found by the back up patrol officer doing ollies with the kids before sending them on their way.
Watching Bry's mom today. I marveled. She must of been having some sort of out of body experience. She greeted mourners. She hugged them and cried with them. She said all the right things. I don't know how she did it. I could not have been so courageous.
I received a note from Brys mom the other day. We had made a donation to the town PBA in Bry's honor. She wrote to thank us. Our local PBA has offered to build a skate park in his memory. Also every National Night Out, they will donate some skateboards to give away. Probably some safety gear too.
I also wanted to state to anyone reading this...Brys suicide was ruled accidental by the coroner. Bry was having an argument with his girlfriend. He was very emotional. In the heat of the moment, he put his service revolver to his neck. He looked at his girlfriend and asked if this was what she wanted. We will never know why he pulled the trigger. He left no note. His mother believes his finger twitched, that he would not have meant to pull the trigger is he hadn't been having such an emotional confrontation. There was one other party, beside the girlfriend to witness this. That person backed up the girlfriends account of the suicide.
He took his life one week ago. I understand he must of been in pain. To take such a drastic step to end his own suffering. I wish he had remembered his mom. or the kids whose life he effected. Or his girlfriend. Or his brother officers. Our town will be in mourning for a very long time.