TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – After a 33 years, Terre Haute Police Department Captain Edward Tompkins looks back at his career following his recent retirement.
Terre Haute native and now retired THPD Captain Edward Tompkins says his interest in law enforcement began while working security for a department store.
“In the beginning I was working at K-Mart on East Wabash as security and we would catch shoplifters there,” Tompkins said.
After some convincing from former classmates, who would transport shoplifters to jail, Tompkins decided to join THPD.
During his 33 year career Tompkins was a patrolman, sergeant, and lieutenant, before eventually becoming captain of the criminal investigation division.
Tompkins says in over 3 decades with THPD he’s been able to see both good and bad.
“The good is people doing the right thing, helping us. Some of the bad things were, you know, the accidents, kids being hurt,” Tompkins said.
While discussing highlights of his career, one moment stands out for Tompkins.
This was helping solve a 1980 double homicide in Terre Haute where the original detective asked Tompkins to take a look at the case.
“I went over everything that he had done and we did some additional things and I was able to come up with the suspect that he had,” Tompkins said.
This led to Tompkins interviewing the suspect, Harry Rowley, who was in jail in California for another murder at the time.
During this interview, Tompkins says Rowley admitted to the homicides in Terre Haute.
“Meeting the family of the victims kind of pushed me to get this solved,” Tompkins said.
As Tompkins leaves law enforcement during a time where policing is under a microscope, he says the actions of some should not reflect on all officers.
“We’re all not like that. We’re not all bad cops,” Tompkins said.
He also says over the years he has seen a lot of support from the community and small things like a handshake or hello to a law enforcement officer go a long way.
“We’d like to see that done more often and it makes our days when that happens,” Tompkins said.
Tompkins says he’s going use the next month or so to catch up on some house work and maintenance.
He says after that he will begin deciding his next step.