Robert L. Woolverton #2582, retired Seattle police sergeant, passed away on Monday, July 26, 2021. Bob was 82 years old. He was hired on the department on May 25, 1966 and retired after 27 years of service in October 1993.
Bob was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. His dad owned a bakery shop. He frequently treated the St. Louis cops to donuts and coffee. This exposure to officers motivated Bob to be a policeman at an early age. After high school Bob felt the draft was getting ready to serve him with an induction notice so he joined the Army. When his four-year enlistment was up, he reenlisted for another five years. One of his duties was shooting on the Army’s Slow Fire .45 Bullseye Team. He used to pour lead in his pistol’s magazine to add weight to his 1911A to strengthen his shooting arm.
Bob never lost his desire to be a police officer so when his last tour was up, he began researching various agencies to apply. He was too short to be a State Trooper but tall enough to be a Seattle Officer - well, almost. His height was just under 5’9”, which was the minimum. So, Bob did stretches and put match books in his socks. He passed.
He was hired on May 25, 1966. After working the streets in Georgetown for three months he was assigned to Academy Class 51 with Bill Hebert #2364 who also died recently. His class graduated in mid-November - back to patrol for a year. A little over a year later Bob transferred to solos for the next five years. During the 1969 Torchlight Parade he made an arrest of a suspect blocking a float. A fight ensued and suddenly another suspect blindsided Bob with a club fracturing his skull. Both suspects were arrested. Bob lived with the head trauma’s aftereffects for the rest of his career. He also had another injury from being struck while riding his bike. That driver was also arrested. While recovering from this injury, Bob studied for the Sergeant’s test. He made the list, so he went back to patrol for a year in preparation for promotion. On October 26, 1973, he made Sergeant and was assigned to East Central. Then he moved to Wallingford to work for Frank Jones #1885. When Frank became the Metro Captain he brought Bob into the Mounted Unit. There he had a horse roll over on him twice during the early 1980’s. Bob left Mounted in 1985 to go back to Patrol first at the South Precinct then the West Precinct. He finished up his career as Queen Sector Sergeant. He used to take his entire squad to the range to practice with duty ammo without ear protection to simulate actual street conditions. If an officer could not afford duty ammo, because in those days the department only provided wad cutters to practice with, Bob would buy the duty rounds. For years he was a member of the Department’s Pistol Combat Team, so he was a good instructor. Incidentally, one of his squad members was Bill Robertson #4688 whose father was one of the St. Louis cops that Bob’s dad treated at his bakery shop. Bob encouraged Bill to take the Sergeant tests. Bill did make Patrol Sergeant just like his father.
Bob retired on October 27, 1993, to enjoy his 40-foot cruiser that he purchased just in case he ever got to Harbor Patrol, he would be prepared to drive the boats. Maybe he thought he could take it off his taxes as a business expense. He also took up flying. What time was left over from maintaining his big boy toys, he continued to shoot. His house was filled with trophies.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife June who died in 2014. He is survived by his son Bob Woolverton Junior who was a Bothell Police Officer for 34 years. He rose to the rank of Captain. Now he teaches at the CJTC in Burien.