Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Russell Travis "Rusty" Stalnaker

Atlanta Police Department, Georgia

End of Watch Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Police Officer Russell Travis "Rusty" Stalnaker

Some days...I just miss my friend.


July 3, 2008

Rusty was such a kind & loving young man, he was one of my daughter's best friends, and his family is very dear to us. Rusty is remembered often with much pride & love. Many prayers are still said for his family, for I know they will miss him always.

Diane Thompson

April 17, 2008

For all who are missing you and once again grieving your death, I say a special prayer. "God, comfort us." This day will always be marked with sadness for me... "God, send your peace." Memories of life spent with you are good and often bring a smile as I remember your infectious laugh! "God, thank you for the gift of Rusty."


March 31, 2008

I miss you.


March 31, 2008

Rusty - that terrible anniversary is nearly upon us, again. I still think of you often and wonder how Dana is doing. It still seems like a bad dream...

Thank you for all you did for the City of Atlanta and for just being a good friend to the rest of us.

You are still missed...


March 17, 2008


We miss you here on earth, but realize you are in a better place.

I remember the wonderful times your mother and I had as we went on our weekly shopping trips with you and my son Roody. You were only toddlers and would both enjoy sitting in high chairs at the restaurants for lunch, and try to open your individual saltine cracker packages. What a mess you would both make, but what fun you had. There were so many other happy memories thru the years....the visit to Virginia Tech....etc.

We are doing fine as you know from above, but miss you and selfishly wish you were here.

You, your Mom and Dad, and brothers have always been "family" to us and always will be.

You were a great blessing to everyone who knew you and I can't believe it has been almost eight years since you left us.

This world and our hometown "Atlanta" were a better place because of you!!!


Diane Buxbaum

March 15, 2008


You are on my mind this month. I thank God for your life and how you touched the lives of others. I will always remember that grin you were so willing to share with the rest of us in Stockbridge.

Shawn's Mom

Shawn's Mom

March 4, 2008



February 28, 2008

Hello Rusty, I just finished reading alot of the reflections that your friends, family, and co-workers wrote about you. You sound like someone I would of liked to know. When I read reflections like yours, it gives me a feeling of admiration that I can't even describe. You are an inspiration to all of us, and your service will never be forgotton. God Speed My Brother

Patrolman Tom Cocco
Hi Nella Police Dept, NJ

January 4, 2008

Happy birthday! I can't believe that so much time has passed since we celebrated your last birthday... I'm so very thankful for your life and your place in my life. You remain a gift to me...then and even now as I remember many happy moments shared with you and your family. May God bless them with happy memories today. I hope there is lots of white icing in heaven! :)



December 8, 2007

"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
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

October 8, 2007



June 20, 2007

What you did in service to your community meant more than you'd ever guess - Thank you so much for your service

Sgt Don "Boots" Jensen Retired
Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee, WI

May 19, 2007

Dear Rusty,

It's almost the end of March and I was just thinking about you. I can't believe it's been eight years since that horrible night I had to drive to your parents house to pick up your mother. I just ordered a bronze memorial plaque in your name for the Police Academy. We will dedicate a classroom in your honor during police memorial month in May and hang the plaque on the door.

One of our new recruits did a nice memorial write up about you. We have it hanging on the wall here at the Police Academy.

We love you, we miss you, and your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Lieutenant Joseph P. Spillane
Atlanta Police Training Academy

March 23, 2007

I am so sorry that we lost you. You have had a huge impact on our lives which changed enormously in the past 8 years. I never got to actually meet you but I did meet your lovely wife, and that was an honour. Atlanta was weakened after your loss. God bless. You will never be forgotten and will always be an important part of our lives.

March 23, 2007

Forgiveness...repentance...the journey of grief...helping others to cope with death...moving forward...finding hope in the dark moments...

These are all gifts that I have received in the last 8 years. They are not gifts I would have chosen on my own. But I try to embrace them with the same positive spirit and hope that you showed me every single day when you put on your uniform and gunbelt. You never seemed to doubt that you would do some good on the streets of Atlanta. I was touched and so proud of you the night you came home and told me of the children you helped rescue from bad situations. I was saddened with you and held you the night you had nightmares after you held a dying man's head in your arms. I was so happy with you when you saved a woman's life after a car crash. There were so many who were touched by your kindness, humor, and fairness while on patrol. I am happy to have been part of your life...and to have you be such a special part of mine.

With tears, fondness, and love I remember you.


March 22, 2007

Hi Rusty,

I just wanted you to know that I often come by here to pay my respect to you and your great sacrifice. I still remember that day during the Olympics that I ran into you. I had no idea you also worked for Atlanta Police. I had no idea that we had both chosen the same path in life. We both went to the same Junior High and High School together. Although my time at Atlanta Police was short it was an honor to wear the same uniform as you. I can still remember that day that I learned of your death. I was working at a different police department and when I heard the name it hit me like a ton of bricks in the chest. I knew you... Its always hard when we lose an officer somewhere. But when you knew that officer personally it hits a million times harder. Your family is in my prayers. I have been a police officer for 11 years now and I know you still have my back! Thanks for watching out all these years...

M.P.O. Todd Garoutte #2272
Dekalb County Police Department

January 28, 2007

You are still loved and missed so much...
Robby and Cathy

Cathy Holbrook

December 8, 2006

Hi Rusty,

You were on my mind today and I had to visit this web site and read all the wonderful things that are written here. You already know of the good news, I know. Everyone here is fine and so sweet and beautiful too. I wish you could see what I am talking about but you already know and have seen the joy and love sent from heaven. Keep out a watch over them from Heaven, Rusty. Your birthday season is approaching and I know all who loves you will have their birthday wishes in their hearts. Listen for the whispers from the hearts of many. Thank you for the pink roses. You are greatly loved and remembered. May you rest in peace. Diane

Diane Askew
Mother In Law

October 26, 2006

Heard Mellencamp's Jack & Diane the other day for the first time in ages. All my memories of you came rushing back. From 5th grade at Fairview, bus riding in junior high, typing class and too many joy rides in the "turbo tercel", the funny notes you sent to me at Vandy when I was so homesick, the Olympics with you and Landry - you with a badge and as usual knowing everyone everywhere we went, and finally our days at GSU. Hiding from that wacky chick who was in love with your brother and wouldn't leave you alone. It was like highschool all over again. You were always there with a joke making me laugh, and being my friend. I have tried to make more of my life in honor of all the things you deserved to do and didn't get to. I have done my best to seize each day and the opportunities available.

You and Corie were my first friends when I moved to Fairview, and I will never forget your loyalty and friendship.


September 22, 2006

Rusty I often reflect back to your first day in the field during field training. It was my job as one of your Field Training Officers to ensure you gained the knowledge and know how of police work. I was really impressed with your attention to detail and how well you retained tasked you were taught. On the night of your graduation from the Academy when I met your parents, I was proud to tell them that they had a sharp young man on thier hands. Your mother had a look on her face that I have seen from many mothers, the look of worry. I told your mother that you would be fine.

I remember how proud you were when you got your motorcycle license when you were assigned to the Auburn Avenue precicnt. I remember you calling when you had a question concerning the job, I told you to call anytime you needed a question answered and you did. (Smile). The day I will never forget (And it still brings tears to my eyes even now.) Is March 31, 1999. You had been transferred to the mobile precinct and we worked together and had fun competing with one another on how long it took us to complete an accident report. I would tell you I'm the teacher and you are the student, you will never beat me, and you didn't(smile). One thing you did that I told you in field training was always get to you brothers side when they needed help, and that's what you did that night. That night changed my life forever. I saw you going places within the department. I have not said it before, but will say it now: It was a pleasure working with you. A lot of folk don't realize that your first day and last day on the street was with me. Thank you for getting to your brothers side. Patrol your beat in heaven and I will partner up with you later.


Sergeant J. A. Price, Sr.
Atlanta Police Department

June 19, 2006

Hey Rusty,
I only knew you a short while but long enough to know what a great person you are. It is terrible that good people like you fall. We miss you buddy.

Steve T.
Burkhart's Pub

June 17, 2006


And if I go
while you are still here...
Kbow that I live on,
vibrationg to a different measure
- behind a veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me
so you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
-both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its fullest.
And when you need me, Just whisper my name in your heart
.......I will be there.

May 26, 2006

For Linda Stalnaker

What Makes A Mother?

I thought of you and closed my eyes,
And prayed to God today.
Asked what makes a mother and I know I heard Him say, A mother has a child. This we know is true. But God, can you be a mother, when your child's not with you?

Yes, you can. He replied with confidence in His voice. I give many women children. When they leave is not their choice. Some I send for a lifetime, and others for a day. And some I send to fill your womb but there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this, God, I want my child here. I took a breath and cleared my throat and then I cried a tear. I wish I could show you what your child is doing today. If you could see your child smile with other children and say,"

"I went to earth to learn a lesson of life and love and fear. My Mommy loved me, oh so much, I got to come straight here. I feel so lucky to have a mom who had so much love for me. I learned my lesson very quickly. My Mommy set me free."

I miss my Mommy, oh so much, but I visit her each day. And when she goes to sleep at night, on her pillow is where I lay. I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek and whisper in her ear, 'Mommy, don't be sad today, I'm your baby and I am here.' "

So you see, my dear sweet one, your child is okay. Your child is here in My Home and this is where he'll stay. He'll wait for you with Me until your lesson is through. And on that day that you come Home, he'll be waiting at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother... It's the feeling in your heart. It's the love you had so much of, Right from the very start.

Though some on earth may not realize you are a Mother, Until their time is done. They'll be up here with Me one day, And know you're the best one.


May 16, 2006

My partner, who was there that day you gave your life, showed me the where you fell. It hit me in the chest like a hammer. Why do I desreve to wear the same uniform and badge you wore? You give me me a purpose and the heart to put that uniform on every night. You are a hero sir! To the family of OFC. Stalnaker, Rusty is still remembered to even the "new guys," I make it a point to tell officers, who dont already know, what happened that day on pine st. Because I was a new guy who was shown. I will never forget your sacrifice.

M.A. Olson Z1
Atlanta Police Department

May 2, 2006

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.