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Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Lieutenant Benedict James Thomas | Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

Lieutenant

Benedict James Thomas

Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

End of Watch: Friday, June 9, 1989
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Reflections for Lieutenant Benedict James Thomas

 

BJ was my older cousin (by a couple of years, but enough for me to look up to him) - my only memories of him are as children, because we kind of lost touch after he moved to Florida - this was many years before e-mail, the internet, etc. I was always sorry that we never really had the opportunity to get to know one another as adults, but from all accounts, he was a fine man. Now, with 2 children of my own serving as police officers, I think of his sacrifice frequently, as I pray for the safety of my own 2 boys. RIP, cousin; I hope to see you again someday.

David Thomas
August 2, 2015

Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
GOD Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito
Texas
June 9, 2015

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 23rd anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace

I pray for solace of all those that love and remember you for I know both the pain and pride are forever. Your family is in my heart's embrace. Thanks to your friends for sharing their memories and devotion to you through their reflections

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05
June 10, 2012

HEROES live forever, and you sir are a hero. We will never forget..

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler, FL
June 9, 2012

Rest in Peace, Lieutenant Thomas. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169
February 9, 2012

Lt. Thomas,
Sir, on today the 20th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Florida. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

R.I.P.
USBP

Anonymous
June 9, 2009

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Sergeant
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC
December 12, 2007

"BJ" was an exemplary example of what all troopers aspire to be; his professionalism and work ethic were unmatched. During my field training in 1981, I had the privilege of riding on patrol with BJ during a late shift. After only 3 years, BJ had established himself as a legendary figure in the Tampa District and I knew that this 8-hour shift would be one that I would need to be especially attentive. I remember how he made me feel like I was his little brother, someone he felt that he personally was going to make sure that I succeeded in my new career. He picked me up in his patrol car and we entered Interstate 275 so that he could show me the proper method in which to operate moving radar and cross a median strip. He set the AM/FM radio to one of the old AM "Big Band" stations and he began to quiz me on various traffic law questions, all the while keeping a watchful eye on the southbound traffic that came toward us. All of a sudden he hit the median hard and stopped a speeding car that he had been gazing at intently. His approach and demeanor with that citizen was one of the most polished presentations I have ever witnessed, even now, after 23 years of service. We became good friends after that shift, and to this day, I still try my best to emulate his style when dealing with the public. I was working the day God recruited BJ to the big leagues. I believe that God knew pretty good talent when He saw it and felt that BJ would serve him better as one of his elite troopers and peacekeepers on "Heaven's Super Highway." BJ's friends and family are blessed with the fact that we all got to know one of God's greatest servants and probably one of the most superior human beings He ever created...a devoted family man and public servant. Because of this special relationship we had with him, we have become better people in a world where, in his very short life and prolific 11-year career with FHP, BJ left a very positive and lasting impression on mankind. BJ's wife, Linda, and their three children, know of BJ's strong faith in Christ and the call he had to answer when real men are asked by their Creator to make the ultimate sacrifice. As we all know, BJ was never one to shrink from his responsibilities and obligations to serve whenever called upon. The Florida Highway Patrol is fortunate to have had BJ among it's ranks, including all the other brave brothers and sisters that have given their lives in the line of duty for the service of our great state and nation. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about all of these special people, particularly my good friend and mentor, Lieutenant B.J. Thomas. "Hey BJ, I look forward to riding with you again...in the meantime, keep up the good work and 'God's Speed'."

Captain Rick Foster
Florida Highway Patrol
June 9, 2004

BJ and I went through the FHP Training Academy's 55th Recruit Class together from May 1st to July 28, 1978. BJ used to pal around on the weekends with me, Danny Spell, Harvey Savage and Tommy Turpin. Our favorite haunt was a pizza joint in Tallahassee called Barnaby's. There, we would share a large pizza and several pitchers of beer and wind down from the previous week's activities and speak with dread and anticipation of the upcoming weeks of training. BJ always had a smile on his face and never a harsh word against his fellow recruits.
BJ was assigned to the Tampa District out of the Academy and I was assigned to the Brooksville District right up the road. We would get to see each other frequently at Troop meetings and activities. It was not uncommon to hear him racing one of his kids to the emergency room in his patrol car for all sorts of kid-related accidents! (One had a tendency to drink whatever liquid he could get his little hands on...) BJ was a devoted father and family man.
BJ and I were promoted to Sergeant on the very same day in 1983. Together, we met with Troop C Commander Captain John Russi who presented us with our Corporal (now the rank of Sergeant) badges. We were both very proud of each other's accomplishments. BJ was a hard worker and definitely worked circles around me and many others!
Upon our promotion, I went to Miami and didn't have many opportunities to see BJ after that. It wasn't too many years before BJ had earned the rank of Lieutenant. I believe he was the first member of our recruit class to make Lieutenant.
Not too many years afterwards, I received the news that BJ had been killed. I was devastated. It was a sad reunion of our fellow recruits that we had to gather to bury our comrade.
Several years ago, the FHP Troop C Tampa office dedicated a memorial to troopers. BJ's son was there. He looked just like his dad.
In May 2003, the remaining members of the FHP 55th Recruit Class held a 25 year reunion in Gainesville. All but three of the still-active members attended. We raised a glass to the fine memories of BJ and said a silent prayer on his behalf.
I'm one of the lucky ones that in two days begin my 27th year of proud service to the citizens of Florida, yet I could never hold a candle to the dedication and hard work that BJ gave to the State. I miss you, buddy!

Sgt. Jim Rhyne

Sergeant James P. Rhyne
Florida Highway Patrol
April 29, 2004

BJ,

You are sorely missed. On Saturday, June 2, 2001, I danced with Margaret, your youngest daughter at her wedding. We spoke about you and how proud you were and would have been with her growth and transformation into a young woman.

Leonard

Lieutenant Leonard R. Zimmerer
Florida Highway Patrol

Rest in peace. We have the watch now.

Inv. Michael Walker
Tallahassee Police Department

 
 

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