Every year in February, I make an annual pilgrimage to Southern California. There are three reasons I make this trip. First, my mother's birthday is in February. Second, since I'll be in the Long Beach area anyway, I take that opportunity to qualify at the Long Beach Police Pistol Range for my national concealed carry permit, which allows me to carry a concealed weapon in all 50 states, (or 57 if you're an Obama Democrat). The third reason I make this trek every year is to attend the Richard A. Rose Career Achievement Award. This award is given in February every year to a Long Beach police officer “who has a minimum of 20 years of service with the Long Beach Police Department and has demonstrated outstanding integrity, loyalty and professionalism throughout his or her career.”
Richard Rose was a big, strong man who approached his police career with vigor, honesty, witt and an unmatched sense of humor. He had a pedigree on the Long Beach Police Department since his older brother John was already a police officer when Richard joined. Both brothers became icons on our department and like all police icons, tales of their arrests, courtroom testimony, and off-duty escapades spread throughout the department.
When Richard passed away of esophageal cancer in 1998, the Honorary Members of the Long Beach Police Officers Association, (a group of local citizens who support Long Beach Police Officers), created this award. It has been given every year since.
I was the recipient in 2003. I was humbled, honored and very surprised when I was notified that year. I had a great career and enjoyed all of the jobs I had worked on the department, but to be honored with an award named after my friend and a legendary law enforcement officer, was totally unexpected. I took my wife and my mother to the awards luncheon and ceremony. I only wish my father had been alive to have been there. I was so honored that I vowed I would return every year, and I have. To have my name mentioned with Richard and all of the officers who have received this award is awe inspiring to me.
This year was special because Richard's son Chris was given the award. Chris, an outstanding officer in his own right, bears many of his father's finer traits. His command presence, his direct speaking style and his self deprecating humor, remind me so much of his father. Surrounded by his wife, kids, aunts and cousins, many of whom were or still are in law enforcement, Chris received this award with grace, wit and humility. This award luncheon and ceremony is always uplifting and enjoyable. This year was singularly so, because of Chris Rose being honored.
Every year at the luncheon, a booklet is put at every place setting that lists the honoree and his or her brief biography, the guest speaker and the past honorees. When I was a training officer and later when I was doing background investigations for prospective police recruits, my results were always predicated on my judgment of whether I could trust the trainee or applicant to do the job, back me up when necessary, and if I would enjoy working in a squad car with him or her. Using that criteria, all of the past Richard A. Rose Award recipients, and this year's choice in particular, would all pass with flying colors.