My Life as a Boston Cop!

Phillip Terenzi

Phillip Terenzi
Captain, Boston (MA) Police Department


My name is Phillip Terenzi and I’m honored to be a part of this museum. There is no greater privilege than to be in the presence of this dedicated museum to Law Enforcement, and in close proximity to the National Law Enforcement Memorial where the names of those heroes that are our fallen brother and sister Officers are engraved. Every time I visit Washington D.C., I make sure I stop by the memorial and pay my respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the citizens of this great Country.

When I joined the Boston Police Department in 1979 as a Cadet, never in my wildest dreams had I thought my career would take me through the ranks of Patrolman, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain. Some the most memorable assignments included the Mounted Unit where I was one of the few people to ride a horse in the City, and the Harbor Patrol Unit where my passion for the job allowed me to become the Harbormaster for the City of Boston-Commanding the Harbor Patrol Unit and Underwater Recovery Team. I always liked to pass what knowledge I had learned to other members of the Department and when the opportunity to teach at the Boston Police Academy came along,I took it, eventually being certified as an Academy Instructor by the Boston Police Commissioner. Currently I Command the Boston 9-1-1 Call/Dispatch Center, where we handle over 640,000 911 calls a year.

I joined the Boston Police Department because I wanted to help people in need. To this day I’ve never lost sight of that. Being a Police Officer today is no easy task. As I look back over my career, I remember all those people I have helped along the way. From chasing armed suspects, reading to children in the Boston Public Schools, going to Community Meetings, rescuing a family from a burning home, from the September 11th 2001 Attack on our Country, to the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013 and subsequent long hours working in the Communications Division until the terrorist were captured, to helping lost kids find their way, to being lucky when I missed a firearm on a suspect who said he didn’t shoot me because I treated him nicely. I have escorted world champion sporting team members in their victory parade (New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and Celtics), protected National Treasures (USS Constitution), protected High Valued Assets and Military Vessels, and I have been detailed to countless parades, sporting events, concerts and other special events in the City of Boston. I have kept a copy of every arrest report, and from time to time, my kids would look at them and read the narratives of those arrests. I still believe the Police job is a great job, and still enjoy going to work every day.

I’ve attended more funerals of fallen officers than I wanted to,both from within my department and other departments as well. One thing about Law Enforcement Officers, we come together as one during those tragic times,holding on to that thin blue line, making sure the families of the fallen know they are not alone and not forgotten. I still remember those officers that I have personally worked with that are now gone: Roy Sergi, Lou Metaxas, Wayne Anderson, Sherman Griffiths, Thomas Gill, Thomas Rose, Jerry Hurley, Dennis Simmonds. You are missed and never forgotten. No one should go to work thinking they may not come home-but we must. It’s a sad thing to stand in formation and salute your fallen brother or sister for the last time.

For those coming into this profession, you face many challenges. May I pass along this for you to consider; you’re in a position to help those that cannot help themselves, you’re the hero to those that are victims of violence and an enemy of the criminals and perpetrators. You’re the only thing standing between the evil that is out there and all the good that the world should be. Keep that thin blue line strong, keep it wide, always protect each other, and forever be safe during your tour of duty. Finally, treat everyone with respect and mostly, treat people the way you want your family members treated.

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