Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer Philip Bruce Mathis

Atlanta Police Department, Georgia

End of Watch Friday, April 26, 1985

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Officer Philip Bruce Mathis

This was my first close to home experience in losing part of my blue family. You will never be forgotten.

Karen Kelley Daughter of Dale Kelley
Retired APD and LT Douglas Co.

November 17, 2020

Officer Mathis,

I live and work in Atlanta, and I visit / shop at Lenox / at the old Rich’s often.

Your sacrifice is not forgotten and you are truly a hero.

Detective Loran Crabtree
Georgia Tech Police

September 8, 2020

Today I met an old friend at the OK Cafe. She and I reminisced back to the time when the older part of the restaurant was Russell Stover Candies, my first job. Then we spoke of Bruce. As often as possible Bruce tried to be there when I locked up alone at night. He was as kind and personable as everyone on this post has said. He even agreed to be my guest speaker at my Social Studies class at Northside High School. This was a huge favor to me since my original speaker was a no show, a young man running for mayor named Maynard Jackson. When I heard about Bruce’s death on the news, I was in shock and am still saddened by such an enormous loss for everyone who knew him and for our city.

Mary Beth Nichols
Friend

July 21, 2020

Today I met an old friend at the OK Cafe. She and I reminisced back to the time when the older part of the restaurant was Russell Stover Candies, my first job. Then we spoke of Bruce. As often as possible Bruce tried to be there when I locked up alone at night. He was as kind and personable as everyone on this post has said. He even agreed to be my guest speaker at my Social Studies class at Northside High School. This was a huge favor to me since my original speaker was a no show, a young man running for mayor named Maynard Jackson. When I heard about Bruce’s death on the news, I was in shock and am still saddened by such an enormous loss for everyone who knew him and for our city.

Mary Beth Nichols
Friend

July 21, 2020

Rest in peace Officer Mathis. Five years previously to the day my dad passed. He was a New York City policeman for thirty eight-years, 1928-1966.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

May 16, 2020

I was 21 years old when I was assigned to APD Zone 1. Bruce was one of my FTOs. He was a veteran officer with exceptional skills and a great sense of humor. Bruce was a kind, caring and professional officer that never met a stranger.
Thank you sir for your friendship and service. God Bless your family and friends. Rest in Peace my friend and FTO.

Deputy Chief P.G. Gainey (Retired)
DeKalb County Ga. Police Department

December 31, 2018

Bruce was my older cousin. My brother Jim and I always looked forward to our visits with Bruce when we were kids. There was never a dull moment when Bruce was around. He was always good for a wild story that made us all laugh.

I now fondly reflect on those memories as my own career in law enforcement is nearing the end. RIP Bruce, you’ll never be forgotten.

Sergeant Charles Mathis
San Jose Police Department

May 24, 2018

Every police officer remembers their first LOD death. Officer P.B. Mathis was my first. I only met him once in the elevator at the old Atlanta PD Headquarters building about 10 days before his death. He made quite an impression on a very young officer. He was a character for sure!

His funeral is vivid in my mind even today. His daughter in a white dress going down the line of police officers pulling on our pant legs, looking for her father I imagined.

There was a memorial placed in Woodruff Park in Downtown Atlanta sometime after the funeral. About 20 years later, while working Day Watch Motors, the memorial was moved to a more prominent place in the front of the park. I was part of the detail assigned to the event. Afterward, I had an opportunity to ask his widow how her daughter was. By then she had graduated college and was a teacher.

Sgt. William Cooper
Atlanta Police Dept

May 9, 2018

Bruce Mathis was a great friend. He worked an extra job for my brother in Sandy Springs Union 76 gas station. I worked at the towing service in Zone 2 with bhruce. Now that My brother Eddie Mobley has died i am sure he and Bruce are friends in Heaven.

Thomas D Mobley
Westwood Auto Auction

May 3, 2016

RIP Brother

Capt. Randy Roberts
Clayton County Police Department, GA

April 27, 2016

I worked with Bruce at Rich's in Atlanta. We talked for the last time that fateful night as he came into work and I left for the day. He was a great friend and I still miss him. I am blessed to have had him as a friend and colleague. He will always be remembered.

Sophia S.
Arlington, VA

March 2, 2015

David, Thanks for being a good role model to the guys at the shoppiing center. You allowed us to stay there and listen to out radios and visit from 6pm to about 11pm every night until the liquor store closed down for the night. You were fair to everyone there and we remember you as a straight up guy. I've never forgotten you as I grew up older. Bruce I went to your funeral - it was beautiful, I still visit your grave it from time 2 time. I hope it beautiful an heaven. My folks and now your folks are there with you. Miss you very much Bruce - I'll see you again one day - and boy do we have a lot to talk about !!

Robert (Bobby) Akers
Friend

April 24, 2013

Thank you for your service and for helping to make America a safer place.

Detective Brian Jones
Boulder County Sheriff's Office, CO

March 24, 2013

Dear Friends and Loved Ones:
Thank you for your prayers and love you have expressed through the years. Bruce loved his work because of people he met like you. We were taught at church and home by our parents that God is love and we are to love one another. Your comments and the stories of those who knew Bruce demonstrated that he was here to serve his fellow man.
Bruce's younger sister
Susan Mathis Hudson 2-13-13

Susan Mathis Hudson
Younger sister

February 13, 2013

Rest in Peace, Officer Mathis. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

February 17, 2012

I had the honor of working with Officer Mathis back in zone 1
a long long time ago. He was a good police officer and a friend. May none of us never forget him and the honor he stood for.

Gary L. Booker SGT.
East Point PD Retired APD

January 25, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the twenty-fourth 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.

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya

April 27, 2009

Breaks my heart reading how LEO's die, wanted family and friends to know Ofc. Philip Bruce Mathis will never be forgotten. God Bless his family, friends and APD. What a HERO!

Retired PO
City Of Miami PD Fla

October 22, 2008

"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

October 8, 2007

G-d Bless

April 26, 2007

Brother Bruce,
It has taken me this long to even mention how much you taught me as a "Rookie" and how much I love and miss you. I will forever remember "us" being written up by a "Rookie Sgt." and that same day I lost my F.T.O." Commander Philip Bruce Mathis" for eating before 0900hrs. (Mickey "Ds") P.S. FYI fellow supervisors we were not dumb or disrepectful it was one unit tucked away from a resonable supervisors view. You and I going around the corner, you shareing a bite of candy with me and saying. "Hey don't let that kind of mind effect the mind of a "Professional Servant" Brother I love and miss you, Brother Dave and I always will remember your smile!and off the wall sense of humor. Bruce I hope to retire soon (26 1/2 yrs.) and you will never ever leave my heart. The great thing is. Now both Dave and I are Sgt's. trust me because of F.T.O.'s like you we both are "Professional Servants" At the end of Aug. I will be going to Chaplain School and will retire doing the work of our Father just the way YOU would my Brother! Bruce. The compassion and love you taught all of us "Rookies" will live eternally in everyone and in each person we meet. Love and Peace Brother Ralph:)

Sgt. Ralph L. Mc Cann
Atlanta Police Dept.

July 17, 2006

I often chatted with Officer Mathis when he was on post at the employee exit door at Rich's Lenox in the evening when I picked my ex-wife up from work. He was was always pleasant, gracious and professional with everyone. We were both very saddened when he was killed and attended his memorial service at Arlington Cemetary. Officer's Mathis' professionalism was an honor to the APD at all times, and I have often thought of Bruce, and of his wife and young child. May God's blessings always be with you and your family.

Scott Nilsson

February 10, 2006

The eleven years I worked with you will never be forgotten. You taught me so much. You were a true friend. Rest in peace

Sergeant David Mulkey
Atlanta Police Department

August 18, 2005

06/23/04

Each day I try to read the ODMP. Today I read your story. Any officer who dies in the line of duty will always be remembered for his sacrifice. You died a hero. Rest in peace Officer Mathis.

Captain Robert W Cannon, Ret.
Vermilion Co, Il. Sheriff's Dept.

June 23, 2004

Rest in peace, and thanks for keeping the peace while you were here. You will never be forgotten.

Pat
Baltimore, MD

March 29, 2004

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.