Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

Last Ring

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

Tom Helms #3561, retired Seattle police detective, passed away on October 25th at 74 years of age.  Tom was hired on April 19, 1971 and retired for disability on January 1, 1997.

Tom was born in Moline, Illinois. His family moved to West Seattle when he was two years old. Tom attended Chief Sealth High graduating in 1967. His first job right out of high school was as a warehouseman for several months until the draft caught up to him. He entered the army in 1968 serving one year in Vietnam. He was discharged in 1970. He returned to his old employer at the warehouse for a little over a year while attending night school to earn an A.A. degree. He did not want to spend his life in a warehouse, so he applied to the department.

The Police Department hired him on April 4, 1971. After completing Academy Class 69, he was assigned to the Georgetown Precinct. There he worked patrol for six years. During this time he attended the University of Puget Sound earning his bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree in Public Administration. Then he moved to the Tac squad for three years. One shift during a training exercise, he fractured his forearm’s radial bone just below the elbow. This injury haunted Tom the rest of his career.

On January 1, 1981, he transferred to Juvenile for three years. Then he moved to Narcotics for almost three years. Next, he was offered a position in Intelligence. This assignment lasted for almost another three years. “Intel” was interesting but a little slower than Narcotics. So Tom applied for a DEA/Seattle PD task force position. He got it and worked as an undercover agent for over two years. He never told his wife Julie what his job was on the task force. She thought he was a Grizzly Adams fan with his beard and long hair. In 1992, he decided he needed an eight to four regular shift assignment. So he transferred to CID in Auto Theft working for Gordy Vanrooy #3065. Tom worked Auto Theft for four years. He retired on January 1, 1997, after 25 years and 9 months of service.

In retirement he went to work for State Farm Insurance as an investigator of casualty claims. His territory was the entire state of Washington. He worked at this until 2010. Then Tom and his wife Julie did some travelling across the US, Hawaii and Europe. Tom also enjoyed hunting, gardening and refinishing furniture. Tom was a family man. He loved taking care of all of them.

Tom is survived by Julie, his wife of 35 years, two adult daughters Kim and Chrystal, two adult sons Eric and Thomas and six granddaughters.