Howard “The Good” Monta #2992, retired Seattle Police Sergeant passed away on September 24, 2017 at the age of 78.
Howard was born and raised in Seattle. Howard was small for his age, so he subscribed to the Charles Atlas Dynamic Tension Body Build Program. He also took up competitive roller skating to strengthen his legs. He even competed nationally. It helped that his father owned a roller rink. Later, Dad partnered with Pat O’Day of KJR fame to put on local rock and dance concerts.
Howard graduated from Franklin and immediately married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth. Then he joined the Air Force in the summer of 1957 for four years to have a steady income. He was assigned to the 6th Tow Target Squadron in Korea. His airplane towed targets one mile aft, while ground anti-aircraft guns shot at it. Also, fighter planes trained on the tow targets a lot.
When his tour was up in late 1961, Howard returned to Seattle. He joined the King County Reserve Deputies, working patrol and juvenile cases. He got a full time paying job with Seattle Fire Department in 1963. After five years, he decided to go into law enforcement full time. King County was slow to hire, but Seattle was not. He became a Seattle Policeman in 1968. Someone on the Department remembered Howard from his high school days because of all the speeding tickets he received. So, he was assigned to Traffic from day one – a kind of version of poetic justice. Howard loved it. He stayed there on 4 wheels and solos for almost 21 years. During that time, he had one major accident that resulted in a head injury. Howard could have retired but fought his way back onto bikes. His riding partner was Tom Sutton #2421 (Howard is godfather to Tom’s daughter.) They were known to take time off the ticket writing sheet by responding to felonies. The patrol officers always appreciated their help, especially if they took the reporting paper.
One shift, while working alone, Howard saw a guy pushing a Harley. Howard pulled over and asked if help was needed. He was ignored: the man continued pushing the motorcycle. Now Howard got suspicious and confronted the suspect. The fight was on. He had just gotten out of prison so was bulked up from the prison workout yard. The two landed on the ground. Howard lost his radio during the battle. It was turning very desperate - the suspect was just too strong. Howard pulled his revolver and began pistol whipping the suspect. So, the suspect grabbed the radio laying on the ground, keyed the mic and yells, “Help! Help! This cop is beating me with his gun!” Units arrived to rescue both Howard and maybe even the suspect.
Howard was promoted to sergeant in January 1988 and remained in Traffic for two more years. In January 1990, he was transferred to Patrol North. His troops loved working for him.
One shift, Howard, now a sergeant, stopped a DUI in Ballard. Suddenly during the physical roadside tests, the 6’5”, 350# suspect just lumbered off. Howard ran after him but was unable to restrain the suspect. This goes on for a couple of blocks. When a backup unit arrives and quickly evaluates the situation. The officer yells, “Sarge, don’t shoot him.” The suspect turns, looks at Howard, who says “Oh” and drew his Glock. The suspect seeing this, dropped to the ground in a puddle of water and surrenders. This is where “The Good” in Howard shines. During the processing, he learns the suspect is the dish washer at a restaurant in Ballard. Howard befriends the suspect and contacts attorney Irving Paul - the Court’s Public Defender, and the prosecutor to help the defendant get back to work.
Howard is best known for his standoff with William “Hollywood” Scurlock. Scurlock was a nationally recognized builder of elaborate tree homes. He had been interviewed by the media for his eco-friendly tree houses. What was not known was his other profession – serial bank robber. One $1.08 million robbery of a Lake City bank, he was pursued by the responding units. After a running gun battle with both Patrol and the detectives. He went to ground. During the late night/early morning hours, a resident thought he saw movement in his stored winterized camper. Howard and his squad responded. A shot rang out, then some of the squad members killed the camper with 40 plus rounds. Scurlock, who was inside of it had committed suicide. Howard retired three years later in November 1997 with 29 years of police service and five years of fire service.
In retirement, Howard became very active inn RAP and RSPOA. His wife preceded him in death in 2009. And when his son, Howard Frank also preceded Howard in death in 2015, his friend and former co-worker John Guich #3267 stepped up to fill the void.