Ambassador Highlight

Ambassador Highlight

Robert Bowling

Patrolman (Ret.)
Fishers (IN) Police Department

Robert Bowling is a retired police officer with 20 years of experience from Durham, North Carolina, and Fishers, Indiana. Most of his career was spent on the road, except for the last two years when he became a School Resource Officer. During his career, he served as a forensic evidence technician, field training officer, accident reconstructionist, mental health/crisis team member, and hostage negotiator. Then after retirement, he became a high school criminal justice teacher.

Bowling spent much of his career in the Honor Guard, attending his first line-of-duty death (LODD) ceremony while a police recruit in 2001. Detective David Taylor of the Greensboro Police Department had died from heat exhaustion while testing surveillance equipment near a cell phone tower. He was part of the processional and gained a deep understanding of the meaning behind “Thin Blue Line.” By the time he retired he had attended 24 police funerals.

While in Durham, Bowling’s department had two officers killed in the line of duty. Corporal Billy Gregory died of a heart attack in 2004, making him the first LODD since 1978. Three years later, in 2007, he lost a good friend, Charles Callemyn, who died in a vehicle accident while responding to assist another officer. Charles was part of Bowling’s squad, and they would often go out to watch Monday Night Football.

“Charles and I frequently talked and laughed over wings and beer. Every officer’s death is tragic, but it affects you differently when you have a close personal connection. To this day, when I am in Washington DC, I go and visit him at the Memorial and leave a Durham PD patch to keep his memory alive,” said Bowling.

A year after Charles’ death, Bowling moved to Indiana and joined the Fishers Police Department. He became a member of the Honor Guard where he had the opportunity to travel throughout Indiana and the rest of the country, representing his department at funerals for fallen officers. His time on the team brought him to Dallas, Chicago, Des Moines, and Westerville, Ohio.

In 2010 he attended the funeral of Officer William Philips. Officer Phillips had served with the Greenfield Police Department (IN) just over four years when he was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Officer Philips was buried on his birthday, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

“Holding the flag for our Honor Guard and watching the balloons being released into the air, I was struck by how young Officer Phillips’ children were. My children were the same age, and I wondered how my family would be affected if I never made it back home. Of all the services I attended, Officer Phillips’ funeral had the most profound effect upon me,” said Bowling.

Bowling currently serves as a contributing writer for Officer Magazine. Working with the US Marshal Service historian, they discovered Augustus Harris, the first known black federal law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty (1878). Special Deputy U.S. Marshal Harris was fatally shot as he attempted to arrest a murder suspect in Edgefield, South Carolina. The suspect was shot and killed before his case could go to trial.

Bowling joined the Ambassador Program last year to continue his work honoring the men and women who have died in the line of duty. He’s excited to be a part of this program, having traveled for National Police Week seven times over the course of his career.

“I am honored to contribute my talents as a writer and my passion for history to help bring recognition to fallen officers and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum. No longer attending Police Week with my Honor Guard team, I utilize my position as an Ambassador and teacher to bring Police Week to the classroom. Each May my students are assigned a state and must research an officer who died in the line of duty. They are required to put together a short presentation bringing that officer’s story to life. This “Fallen Officer Project” is my way of keeping the memories of the fallen alive while teaching students to appreciate the sacrifices made to keep us safe. I am proud to be an NLEOMF Ambassador!” added Bowling.

Bowling is married with three boys. His wife is a former police officer from Durham NC. She now works as a civilian for the Carmel Police Department (IN). In 2021, Bowling published his first book, Wicked Fishers, a local history book. His second book is due out next year, and it will discuss vigilantism in Indiana and how it helped to evolve modern law enforcement.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Ambassador Program promotes the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, National Law Enforcement Museum, and the Officer Safety and Wellness programming through outreach, resources, and education.

All active and retired law enforcement officers are encouraged to apply. Start your application process.