Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Todd Parkins

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Police Lieutenant Todd Parkins died at his Sandia Park home from an accidental gunshot to his chest while preparing for hunting season on Wednesday, September 24. He was 38.

On Feb 20, 2004, then Sergeant Parkins received the Department’s Life Saving Award. He was the Traffic Section Lieutenant and well regarded by those who knew him.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

Only that he’s gone too soon.

I taught report writing to the 68th Cadet Class in May of 1993; Parkins was in the class. He didn’t stand out and I took little notice of him. This is a good thing. He wrote well enough that he filled all my squares without me noticing. It came from his education at Baylor University, where he'd graduated.

From an instructor’s point of view, spending a couple of hours a week in a class room, then reviewing the work of solid students doesn’t make a huge impression on your psyche.

Parkins was such a student. I knew he was going to be one of the 98 percent. Unlike the two percent of officers who routinely get into trouble, he was a dedicated, hard working police officer, on the job for the right reasons. I was not surprised to see his name on the promotion lists. The few times I did see him, he stood tall and was the model of the professional police officer.

He was a big man with, what police call a command presence, that look of knowing and being in control, exuding that feeling amongst the ordinary citizen that know, it’s nice to have a cop around. On the other side, it projects, for those who wish a cop wasn’t around so that mischief, or worse might happen, that they should sense an uneasiness.

However, that wouldn’t be an accurate read of Parkins. He was approachable, quick with a smile and always willing to assist.

He'll be missed.

UPDATE:

Read Sgt. Joe Schmedlap's world's tribute.

4 comments:

Mark said...

Thank you Mark for dedicating a page to this fine man. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Berenguela said...

What a tragedy and how great a loss! Our condolences to the force and the Parkins family.

God Bless,

Santa Fe Blog

Anonymous said...

Great tribute Mark, Todd was one of a kind and our prayers are with his family and all who wear blue

Sandra said...

About Todd
Men of good character always stand out in a crowd. They inspire us and encourage us to do better and be better people, and we seek them out to be leaders, friends and teammates. Todd Parkins was that kind of guy.

I knew Todd in high school in California, when he was just sixteen and worked at Ed Debevik’s (a 50s diner) in Torrance, serving up ice cream drinks to a 50s beat. We had such fun there! He was a tall, athletic blond guy with a great smile, excellent sense of humor, and a steadiness and sense of responsibility that was uncommon for someone his age. He was grounded, and he seemed to know who he was and how he was meant to live. I think his self assurance and purpose came from his faith in God and his family upbringing, but there was something special about this gentle guy.

He was intelligent and kind, but still human and vulnerable, and he held himself to a standard of doing right by everyone. He was humble, and he served others. I remember him visiting me in the hospital after I had a scary medical diagnosis in 1986, and he raised my spirits with his humor and support. Not surprisingly, he was well liked and well respected even as a young man. It must have been that grounding and character. He stood out to me as a gentleman, and as a good man.

I hope Todd’s sons know how inspiring their dad was to those who knew him, and I hope that they can find the hope and faith that guided Todd throughout his life. I am heartened to know that Todd lived quite a full life in his 38 years, and that has two great sons and a large extended family. Todd may not be with us on Earth, but he is with us in spirit and is not forgotten; his good character influences those of us who knew him to this day. It was an honor to know him. From Matthew 25:23: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

God bless my old friend Todd, and God bless his whole family.