I was in my first week on the Gazette staff and called the Criminal Investigation Division for information about a homicide that had taken place. Frank was the lieutenant in CID at the time and he took the call.
We had a professional exchange of information and afterward, I wrote my story.
The next day, when I called to follow up, Frank was not a happy man. He felt I had misinterpreted some information he had given me and, truth be told, I probably did.
That’s not exactly the way you want to start building professional relationships. Yet, in the weeks that followed, Frank still took my phone calls and was always helpful.
He was a consummate pro.
Months later, Frank and I ended up seated together at a police awards dinner. I felt a little awkward, but as we chatted, he suddenly asked me, “Where did you go to high school?”
I told him I was a proud graduate of Riverside High School in Buffalo.
He smiled wryly and said, “We were in home room together there.”
It was a reunion and put us both back on solid ground. Over the years that followed, Frank moved into the ranks of a patrol captain, but was always there when I needed to make a call and find out about an incident on his shift.
I had heard he was thinking of retiring soon. I found out yesterday, he did that at the end of the year.
I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to wish my old classmate well, in person. The department has lost a good leader and I’ve lost an old friend.
So here’s to you captain, a job well done. May you enjoy your retirement!