Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rodney Holder

Officer Rodney Holder was a friend. I was a one-year veteran reporter at KTAB when Rodney entered the police academy in 1982. He was one of the young, fresh-faced kids signing up for the job of protecting and serving the community. I was assigned the story of this new academy. My first story was about the young men in the academy and specifically about a young woman who wanted to be an Abilene Police Officer. Sandy Mayberry was a pretty girl going through the rigorous training with Holder and the other hairy-legged men working to earn their commissions. I put the emphasis on the woman for that first report, partly because she was one of the first in the APD, and partly because she was prettier than they were. I had several occasions of dealing with Rodney Holder over the years of covering the police beat. Some cops don't like nosy news reporters very much. Rodney seemed to understand the importance of this job, and he was always gracious and easy to talk to. Rodney Holder seemed to like me. His easy-going smile made it easy to approach him at accident scenes and criminal investigations. I have always understood the importance of his job, and I tried to treat him with the respect he earned with the badge. He seemed happiest at parades where he and the other motorcycle cops led the procession. I knew him well enough to speak when we were both in our jeans and tee-shirts away from the job. It's always a shock when someone you know and respect dies...especially someone so genuine, gracious and committed. The jobs of police officer and a news reporter can be adversarial at times, but neither of us let that happen. I will miss him.

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