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Richard was my primary FTO. As a green, unworldly 21 year old, I was probably an irritating kid to Richard. But he taught me. More than he knew. His kindness to others, his integrity, his talent were just a few of the things he shared.
He took his duty seriously. That means when someone hurt others, it was our job to find them. Stop them. Richard taught me to hunt and to not stop until the job was done. In doing so, he taught me to understand the root cause. It wasn't enough to catch the kid burglarizing the elderly, we had to get the pawn shop owner who was promoting the behavior. It wasn't enough to get the mule, we had to take down the dealer too. Every time.
Treating all people with respect, working with teams, don't stop until the goal is achieved, do it right the first time…more than I can name here. I was able to work with Richard for a few years after getting out of the FTO program, but I never stopped learning from him.
I am not a person who gets close to others easily. But I loved Richard. When he was killed, I was filled with anger. I found I could not do the job in the way Richard taught me. My tolerance toward purveyors of violence was tapped and I risked becoming one of them. So I quit a job I loved.
I have had many jobs since. Occasionally I am asked how I learned to do this or achieve that.
I usually just smile and say I read a book once. But the truth is Richard taught me everything I needed to know.
I will never forget you. Thanks for all you did, for me and for others.
Sgt. Mark Meier
January 8, 2017