Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Joseph Howard Tomlinson, Jr.

Murfreesboro Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Thursday, October 28, 1999

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Reflections for Police Officer Joseph Howard Tomlinson, Jr.

I've known Joseph "Butch" Tomlinson since around 1985. We made Chief Petty Officer together in September of 1986. We played Softball together, did some 4 Wheeling in his Jeep, and yes we drank some together. Butch was a good friend. When he met Debra "Dee" Dumas he was in 7th heaven, and we (his friends) were all very happy for him. As usual with Navy personnel, we didn't stay in the best of touch after we both transferred from Hawaii, but he never left my mind or my heart. He (as do other Navy Family) held and continues to hold a piece of my heart that will never go away. RIP Shipmate.

CTTC(SS) Lou Tardona Jr.
United States Navy - Retired

October 28, 2015

Although you passed when I was only about 6 months, it is because of you that I am going to the US Navy. It is my senior year and I have already enlisted as a Master at Arms. I hope that I make you proud. HOOYAH

Bradley Young

September 9, 2015

Butch, I will never forget that day. It's engraved in my memory forever. Yesterday we sent one of your fellow MPD officer to be with you. I know that heaven is a little brighter place with folks like you. God bless MPD!!!

Paramedic PM

March 19, 2015

Butch used to work with me at the Summerville Police Dept. Me and a group of Officers went there after the accident. He was a great guy and a very good officer. He worked for me on my shift. I miss him and hope his family is doing well. I miss ya big guy.

Sgt. Rick Hendrix
Summerville Police Dept. ret

August 27, 2012

To Officer Butch Tomlinson and his loved ones:

On this the tenth anniversary of your tragic death, please knowr that your memory is honored and revered today. Rest in Peace, Butch. I am praying for solace for your family members today, and each day that they are on the survivors' path.

This reflection is sent with the utmost respect for the distinquished service Butch gave to his community and the citizens of Tennessee, and for the supreme sacrifice he and his family made on October 28, 1999.

Phyllis Loya, mother of Officer Larry Lasater, PPD, eow 4/24/05


October 28, 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
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

January 30, 2008

I knew Butch while he was on Active Duty serving our Country. We made Chief Petty Officer together back in 1986. I look at the pictures of that timeframe many of which he and I are in together and it makes me sad. He served proudly for 20+ years in the United States Navy, went back home and got back into what he always talked about doing, becoming a Police Officer (again I believe). Coming from a Police Officer family (my father and my son, Butler County, Ohio) I know the draw. Just wanted to say I think of Butch often and wish he were still here with us, but I know he is in a really good place.
Your Friend, Lou

If Debra Tomlinson sees this call us, we are in San Antonio, Florida.

Lou Tardona Jr.
Fellow Chief Petty Officer, US Navy

December 18, 2007

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

October 26, 2007

On the anniversary of your death, I salute you for your service and honor you for your sacrifice.

Rest in peace.

October 28, 2004

I had the pleasure of knowing officer Tomlinson when I was employeed with the City of Murfreesboro. He was a great person to be around aways wearing a smile. He will be missed and me he rest in peace.


September 9, 2003

I only knew Butch for a short period of time. He was a dedicated officer and loved his job. Butch, I often think of you, when I see my daughter. I have only told a few people this, but my daughter was born on 10-28-98 at 0945a.m. You were taken from this Earth to be with God one year later (10-28-99 @ 0940a.m.)This is why, when I see my daughter I think of You. I served as a Rifleman in the Honor Guard the day you were laid to rest, then went home to my daughter's birthday. It has taken a year for me to write these words. You will not be forgotten.  Please watch over your family as I know you will, and if you get time watch over the officers of M.P.D.

Keith Sanders
Murfreesboro Police Dept

Butch was killed doing what he truly loved to do....Police work and most especially traffic enforcement. He was killed while trying to catch a speeder as he made a U-turn. Due to a motorist failing to yield the right of way to an Ambulance responding to a call for service. As Butch entered the turning lane to make his turn, the Ambulance entered into the turning lane to pass this unthoughtful motorist. He was struck and the impact was tremondous and as a result Butch died of massive internal injuries. He was a constant Professional Police Officer and he is truly missed ever day by his friends and Co-workers. Our department will never be able to replace an Officer of his high caliber. I am comforted by the thought that he is now at home patroling the less stressful streets of the promised land. God Bless You and Keep you in His Heart Butch. We Love and Miss you!

Tommy L. Massey
Murfreesboro Police Dept.

Butch was a loyal and dedicated officer. I had the honor to work with him for about a year. He will be missed by all that knew him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fellow officers.

Michael J. Dillinger
U.S. Department of Treasury

Rest in peace, my friend...and please watch over the men and women of Murfreesboro Police Dept.


my heart goes out for officer tomlinson,s wife & family.i had the pleasure to work with butch for about 1year, in fact i was his fto when he returned back to this dept in 98, after working here 20years ago. we lost a fine officer, and he will be sadly missed by all

patrolman shondale clark
murfreesboro police dept


Although I never got the chance to know you I have seen the impact you had on the Officers around you. I work in the area that you did. I pass by the spot where you were taken from us on a regular basis. Every time I pass by I give you a salute for doing your time here on the streets of Murfreesboro.

I work with many of the Officers who loved to work with you and I hear them talk of you on occassion of all the good times. You will be glad to know that some of the friends of yours have placed your picture at Coconut Bay Cafe, (Buffalos), in rememberance of you. All of the Officers and Bikers that go in there know who you were and spread the word to those who dont know. Rest in Peace Butch. Keep and extra eye on us down here if you will. We'll all meet again one day.

Officer K. M.

My prayers and thoughts go to the family and police dept. I had the pleasure to work with Butch for a few years. He was a joy to work with at the Flowertown Festival. I will miss him.

Sgt. Cheryl Bass (Retired)
Summerville Police Dept. SCl

Uncle Butch I miss you greatly. Since you and Papa are gone, I have been blessed with twins, 2 wonderful people gone and 1 year later 2 wonderful people born. I am trying to stay out of trouble but like you said he was doing his job. you will be greatly missed.

Amy Overby

I remember Butch when I started at the Murfreesboro Police Department in 1979. He was so kind and patient with me in my rookie way, as he taught me about traffic enforcement and what it meant to be a law enforcement officer. He was a cop's cop. We miss you Butch.

Colonel Eddie Farmer
Rutherford County Sheriff's Office

Butch's death was a tragedy for his family and his department, but knowing Butch, if he had to go I think this is how he would have wanted it. God Bless you Butch. I just hope they do have "Harleys in Heaven"

Lt James M Bateman
Summerville Police Department (SC)

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