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In Memory of Officer Robert K. Best

December 15, 1982

I remember Bobby from our days in the training academy he was in class 81-6 I was in 81-5. We use to have PT training competition events. Usually 81-6 ended up on top. I can still here Bobby saying, "what did you expect from the 'BEST'?" Somehow this competition carried over to our 7th District assignment when he was assigned to Sector 1 and I was in Sector 2. What I best rember about Bobby was that he took the name of "BEST" literally, because what ever he attempted in life he strived to be just that -- "The Best." I believe with all my understanding that God needed the best MPD rookie officer ever at the gates of heaven to keep order & peace and these two words best decribe's Bobby's spirit in every thing he accomplished. I will nerver forget Bobby how hard I wept at your going home service when the soloist song that old Coolling High theme song "It's so hard to say goodby to yesterday."

Love you Bobby & will nerver forget your spirit. RIP

Darrell Roberts Sr.
—Submitted March 18, 2011


Bobby and I were classmates (81-6) in the academy. We often played basketball together. He was a very good athlete and had extensive martial arts training. I was only with the department for about a year. However, I continued my law enforcent career in Pennsylvania the last 27 years. Bobby's death has stayed with me my entire career, and this very day I honor him with his picture in my office every day. Law enforcement lost a great brother that terrable night in Deccember '82. However, Bobby lives on with those of us who still fight on in this battlefield.

Randy Feathers
—Submitted December 4, 2008


Officer Best is best remembered by me as being excited on joining the police department. He wanted to help the citizens he was hired to protect and he performed his duties with honor and diginity.

Captain Alton C. Goodwine
Howard University Campus Police Department
—Submitted May 12, 2006


Officer Best and I were assigned to the Seventh District together where we both worked midnights. We worked together in Scout 177 and Wagon 190 on several occasions. Bobby was quiet and thoughtful, and as a young member of a very senior patrol section, he watched and tried to learn everything he could from his co-workers. Bobby was studious, an avid reader, and had a fervent interest in photography. He hoped to eventually obtain an assignment where he could use his photography skills at work.

The night he died, he had volunteered to work in casual clothes with veteran Officer Bill Haupt. When the assignments were read in roll call, one of the uniform guys joked, "Cruiser 970 - Officers Best and Worst." Officers Best and Haupt rolled out with a ten-ten sheet and went on prowl for stolen autos.

At about 1 am, they spotted a suspicious auto, which turned out to be stolen from North Carolina, at 25th and Good Hope. They followed the vehicle out Branch Avenue and into Maryland. The suspect bailed out at Curtis Drive and fled on foot, but was soon cornered with no escape route. The icy footing was not a friend to Officer Best who was unable to gain a tactical advantage. Officer Best was gunned down before he had a chance to react. As he lay dying, he cried out several times, "Help me - I'm the police!"

As these events were unfolding, I was stationed at a guard post on the property of the Mayor, in a position where I could not help Officer Best or grieve with the other members of the section. After things settled down, I listened as my stunned co-workers dealt with the tragedy in their own ways. Jimmy Brown called all units to the Panorama Room parking lot for a prayer meeting. Gene Condra made a lockup. Ed Stulga and Bill Haupt argued over whose bullet took down the suspect. And everyone pitched in doing what needed to be done.

After the night was over, no one felt much like going home. Glenn Giardino and I went to the scene on Curtis Drive to try to make sense of the tragedy. A reporter milling about spotted us and asked for a comment, but soon realized from our crushed expressions that our visit was private and that we were not interested in offering sound-bites for the news.

Robert's death touched me in many ways, the most notable being that after Robert was gone, I took a safer approach to work. My objective each day was no longer to lock up the world, but instead, to work hard, take fewer risks, and to check off safe each day.

We miss you, Bobby.

— Stephen Porreco
Submitted September 7, 2000 (via Washington Post)


Date of Death: December 15, 1982
Rank: Officer
Age: 24
Years of Service: One
Location of Death: Branch Avenue, Suitland, Maryland

Circumstance:
Officer Best and his partner were working in plain-clothes when they observed a stolen auto and pursued it into Maryland. When the suspects bailed out, one was caught by Officer Best's partner while Officer Best chased the other behind an apartment building. As Officer Best rounded the corner of the building, the suspect put a gun to his head and fired. The first shot missed, but as Officer Best fell, he was shot twice in the back.

The suspect was shot and killed minutes later by MPDC.

Return to the list of fallen officers.