Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

Last Ring

Take a moment to remember our friends and associates who have passed.

Tom Fitzgerald #3158, retired Seattle Police Detective passed away on March 21, 2014. He was 68 years of age upon passing. A big guy, with a big smile, and an even bigger sense of humor.

Tom was born and raised in Queens, New York City. Upon graduating from high school, he enjoyed the summer off. Then the President came knocking. No, it was not for motor voting or to get Tom’s policy views. It was “Greetings – Report to Brooklyn for Induction.” As he was being sworn into the US Army, he met Al Citron #3004. They became life-long friends. They went to Basic Training (Fort Hood, Texas) and Advanced Training (Fort Lewis, Washington) together. Their MOS was Military Police assigned to the newly constructed 4th Division. Then they shipped off together to Vietnam. They were extended, returning to Washington as MP Sergeants, one at Fort Lawton, the other at Fort Lewis. Tom talked Al into signing up with the Seattle Police Department in late 1968. Four months later, Tom came on board. They worked West Central Patrol for a year and then transferred to Wallingford. There, they worked for Sergeant Don Grasby #1525. While he was furloughed, Tom – a practical jokester – retired Grasby early due to “mental anguish, unable to communicate with all the newbies”, sending in phony retirement papers to the Pension Office and Personnel Division. Then Tom and Al altered a Personnel Order showing Grasby’s disability retirement. When Don came back to work, he was besieged with calls congratulating him for retiring. He knew who was behind the prank but could not prove it, even though he had the retirement request and his personal copy of the orders fingerprinted at the Crime Lab. Another time, Tom and his partner responded to a natural, finding the female victim alone, sitting in a rocker, with eyes open, directed at the TV. They called their Sergeant Ted Japar #391, telling him the woman was unresponsive when they tried to inform her that the husband had died. Ted grumbled “you new officers just don’t know how to communicate with the aggrieved.” He knelt by the woman, saying your husband has passed away - no response after many tries. Ted got up, turned off the TV, returned to the woman, knelt and tried again. Again, no response. Ted, getting frustrated, told the woman, “you are in denial, you have to accept reality.” As he touched her folded arm that was supporting her chin, her hand dropped away, so the head shifted forward causing the chair to rock forward, and the body fell almost on top of Ted’s feet. Ted, who was still kneeling in front of the rocker, jumped back, yelling incoherently. The two officers left laughing. But Ted got the last laugh. Tom could not seem to get the major report quite right. It took him all day, re-writing (by hand) before Ted would approve it.

In 1973, Tom transferred to West Burglary. One of his cases was recovering an expensive Gibson guitar that was stolen from a local studio musician that had played backup during a rock show at Seattle Center Coliseum performed by a big named rock band on tour. Tom worked the rock show, talked with the victim, confirmed his Gibson guitar was stolen. Tom called Boeing Field Tower, had the band’s private plane delayed while he drove there. He threatened to book the entire band unless the Gibson was given up. The guitar was produced and the band was allowed to fly to its next gig. In 1979, Tom transferred to Juvenile. There, Tom, Al Citron and Dick Rovig #1920, were in daily competition for 25 cents to complete the PI’s Horsesense puzzle and the Times crossword puzzle while in the restroom. They had 30 minutes to finish up all the paperwork. Tom claimed he was the fastest. Dick states he won more than the other two. Al brags he still has a jar of quarters he won. The best prank Tom pulled on his fellow detectives was the famous New York Easter Candy. On Good Friday, he brought in a Mary See’s box of hand dipped, nut encrusted chocolate truffles on white sticks, so the crew’s fingers wouldn’t get messy while eating. As the detectives bit through the chocolate covering into the white centers, they knew they had been had as the Tampax fiber got stuck in their teeth. Tom retired on July 18, 1994, after working his last mandatory 4th of July Fireworks assignment, with 25 years and one month of service.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Helen; a daughter, Katie; a son, Brendan; and two grandsons.