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