What I do for WORK:
I began my work career at the age of 12 mowing lawns for 25 cents each and delivering papers that netted me about one cent each.
then began repairing radios and TV's for people in the neighborhood at the age of
14. I use to love finding one that was beyond repair. This was because the
owner would normally give it to me to dispose of. Of course I would drag it
home to be cannibalized for parts. This was how I got parts to do repairs and
build my Ham Radio equipment. I was licensed
of my radio and test equipment was home brew and while I loved the challenge of
designing and constructing my own receivers and transmitters, I would have
given almost anything to have had the ability to purchase a commercially made
piece of equipment. While still in High School I designed and constructed a
dual conversion receiver with VFO and crystal filter. The first IF was at 11.7
MHz and the second was at 262KC. Why the strange frequencies? Well as I said
earlier, I cannibalized old radios for parts. The 11.7 first IF was because I
had crystals for the filter that were in the 11.7 MHz range. I used to regrind
my own crystals to the desired frequency with
the age of 17 I began working part time for Collins Radio and TV on
also worked part time for
two was a great learning experience in the communications field. In October of
that year I went to
retired from the City of
After about 3 months I was transferred to the vice squad where I was used primarily to gain entry into illegal liquor establishments. I was then transferred to the Community Relations Bureau and assigned to recruiting with Lt. Jack Cunningham as the unit commander. At the end of this assignment I was transferred back to the Vice unit. My time was cut short by my questioning the integrity and honesty of the unit commander. This resulted in my transfer to the Narcotics Unit. Click this for a picture of me in 1972 while I was working the Narcotics Unit.
My time in the Narcotics Unit was enjoyable. One must remember that the seventies was a different time when compared to present day. People (even the criminals) had respect for Police officers. Unfortunately, today there is a large segment of the citizenry that has no respect for Police, fellow citizens, or themselves. In 1975 I was transferred out of the narcotics unit to the Communications Bureau. I remained in that assignment until Chief Whiddon retired. I then was assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division and worked on the SWAT team. I spent the next few years in a variety of assignments both in and out of uniform. In the early eighties, because of my communications and electronics background, I was asked to accept a temporary assignment in the Communications Bureau. This was a good assignment and I did everything from maintenance to dispatching to computers. During this time the Fraternal Order of Police had been successful in obtaining the rite of officers to bid for assignments by seniority. When I was about to leave Communications for an easy assignment as a Sergeant, I was asked by Major Richard Derrick to stay and help implement the change to civilians in the Communications Bureau.
1986 until 1995 I was a Sergeant in the center and found it the most
challenging of any of my assignments. I left the assignment in February of 1996
after the Police Communications was combined with Fire and
I was now the Commander of the Street Gang Investigations Unit. While this sounded great I had only one officer temporally assigned to the unit. I immediately began to assess the extent of the gang activity in the community. In short order determined that a minimum of six officers would be needed if the Police Department were going to be serious in their efforts to control the proliferation of gangs and their related illegal activities in the Akron area. I again found myself in a position where my ideas and my desire to do what was best for the community was in direct conflict with that of some of the high level supervisors and policy makers of the department. It was a continual battle to get staff and equipment. My one officer on temporary assignment was sent back to the Uniform Division. I did manage to get two officers assigned to the unit but the powers to be refused to provide any equipment for them to perform their duties. I have always been good at procuring things so over time we managed to obtain some of the things necessary for the performance of the duties of the unit.
We were beginning to develop some good contacts and information regarding the gangs and the criminal activity perpetrated by them. We had developed many good informants and things were looking up until I started an investigation that required the aid of the State of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and that of the State Attorney General. Our chain of command was changed so that we reported directly to a new Deputy Chief that was of questionable character and honesty. In short order Information was leaked regarding our investigations and we were told by the Deputy Chief that our unit was going to be turned into a "Street Crimes Unit and assigned to the 8 P.M. to 4 A. M. shift! Prior to this time we worked whatever hours were necessary to accomplish or tasks. I advised the Deputy Chief's supervisor of what was transpiring and explained that there was reason to question the integrity and honesty of the Deputy Chief. Again my concerns fell on deaf ears.
As a result of not being able to prevent or stop the travesties and the unethical activities of the Deputy Chief, for the second time in my career I did what was best for me and not the community. In July of 1996 I chose to retire and get away from the undesirables and gross incompetence. I have often said that if it were private industry they would have been bankrupt and the executive board would have been fired, arrested or both.
In 1996 at the time of my leaving the job, I had 26 & 1/2 years of service. I had the fortune to have had a great career. Each day was different and I would like to think I made at least a small difference. One of my most rewarding assignments was my duty as a "Crisis Negotiator". At the time of my retirement I had 100% success in negotiating the peaceful resolution of all hostage/barricaded suspect situations. This I believe was due to God's blessings and the great training I received from Sergeant Earl Wykoff and the FBI. Some may say that it was simply because of luck or my ability to talk for hours on end. The persons simply could not stand to hear me ramble on any longer! Oh well - That's another story in its self!
During my career with the Police Department I always did other work on the side. I worked part time for Art and Arron at Lafayette radio until 1972. For a number of years I had a Two Way Communications business. I did repair installation, and sales of equipment. I handled Standard, GE, and Motorola LMR equipment. The business grew in the 80's to the point where it was large enough so as not to be fun. It was difficult to find honest and competent help. As a result I closed the business and vowed to only do what was fun. Thus far I have managed to stick with that policy for the last fifteen years.
Since retirement I am no longer one of the boss men. My lovely wife Charmaine is now the boss. I make every effort to comply with her directives. She freely admits that I am a great "House Husband".
time permits, I do some consulting in the areas of RF Communication, Computers
and Industrial Security. I was a member of the parish council at St. Bernard
Church in Akron Ohio as well as active in the Knights of Columbus Council 547
and past Grand Knight. I was also active
with the Victims Assistance of greater Summit County, a member of the board of
the Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC) of Summit and Portage Counties and
volunteer for many programs and organizations in the greater Akron area. I was formally the Project Director of the
Safe Communities program for Summit County and worked out of the Sheriff’s Office
. The Safe Communities program is funded
I am also a cancer survivor having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002. If you wish to talk about cancer – feel free to email me or give me a call by phone or radio.
am enjoying retirement from the
So long for now and send me your thoughts.
73, Rich WA8DBW
Retired and loving it.