Tag Archives: Saint Joseph’s University

Three decades as a Philly Cop come to a close

Recruit training, Philadelphia Police Academy, summer 1990

This past Friday, January 19, was my last official day on the payroll of the Philadelphia Police Department. After nearly three decades, I hung up my badge and gun, riding off into the sunset of retirement.

I come from a Philly Cop family. My brother, Mike, remains on the job as a Sergeant with the Central Detective Division. For a few years way back in the early 1990’s we were partners working a police wagon.

Our father, Matthew Veasey Jr (I’m the third), had been a Philly Cop himself for three decades from 1960 through 1989. He passed away back in August knowing that my retirement was coming up. If you combine his and my own service, the calendar year of 2019 will be the first in a half-century without a Matthew Veasey serving in uniform.

We also have a pair of cousins on the job. John Bernard is a Detective and Bob Veasey is a police officer. So even though I’m now out, the family influence remains within the Philly law enforcement ranks.

Trying to write about all of the experiences that I had, all of the people who made a difference, in one piece would be an exercise in futility. There were so many, I could write a book. Maybe some day I will do just that. I certainly understand how so many cops have written books and scripts in the past. There are that many amazing, wild, and touching stories.

But I will take a few paragraphs to glance back at my career as both a general reminder, and as a sample of where a career in the police profession can take you.

I started out by taking the written exam in December 1989. I had just turned 28 years old, and had been working in the banking profession for the previous decade since my graduation from high school.

This wasn’t my first time taking the police test. I took it previously way back in 1980 as an 18-year old. At that time, I passed the written test as well as all of the subsequent exams and checks.

Unfortunately, for one of the few times in history, not only was the PPD not hiring, they were actually laying off officers. I remained on a hiring list for two years while that layoff and city hiring slowdown continued. My list eventually expired, and by that point I was settled in to my job with First Pennsylvania Bank.

By the time that 1989 testing opportunity came around, I had moved over to Fidelity Bank. Though I was making better money in a more responsible position, I still wasn’t seeing much of an interesting future for myself in the banking profession.

In those days, the city actually gave you a booklet to study for the written test. I studied hard, and it paid off. When the results came out, I had finished high. By the end of January 1990, I was attending the orientation session at the old Academy facility on State Road.

Over the next few months there were numerous tests: psychological, psychiatric, lie detector. There was a background check in which neighbors and family members were contacted about my conduct and character.

I passed everything with flying colors, and entered the Philadelphia Police Academy as a member of Class 289 on April 23, 1990. The next five months were like being back in high school. Classroom work, homework, and studying. There was regular physical training that got me into the best shape of my life.

In mid-September of 1990 our class graduated. I was assigned to the 6th District, the same place as my brother, who had graduated the previous year. The 6th served an extremely diverse area in those days, stretching from Broad Street down to the Delaware River, and from South Street up to Poplar Street.

The Veasey Boys, 6th District wagon crew in the early 1990’s

While there are districts with far worse violent crime situations, few could rival the 6th District for the variety of assignments and citizen interactions. You went from a job in the drug-infested Richard Allen Homes projects on one call to the wealthy inhabitants of Society Hill for the next.

There was a thriving gay community, the burgeoning club scene along Delaware Avenue, and the boardwalk atmosphere of South Street. The entire downtown area was a hodgepodge of residents, visitors, workers, and transients. It was a great place to learn how to interact with people from all walks of life, and from all socio-economic backgrounds.

We had great cops in my squad, many of whom stayed together for much of the more than six years that I was in the district. One of those cops was my brother, Mike. He and I would spend much of the early 1990’s as partners working a patrol wagon together.

My brother passed the Sergeant test and moved on, and for a couple of years I worked mostly on a solo patrol car, though I still occasionally worked a wagon with other partners.

In late 1995, I took the exam for Detective, finishing at 103 out of hundreds on the list. In January of 1996 the department promoted 89 people to the rank, going through 96 names on our list to get them. This left me just seven slots away, but now I had to wait. That wait lasted most of the year.

That promotion to Detective finally came in November 1996 when I received the gold shield and began my investigative career with the East Detective Division. In more than four years at EDD it became obvious to me that cops who worked the “Badlands” of the 25th District saw more violent crime in a year than I had in six years at the 6th District.

It was so consistently violent in East Division that we had a phenomenon known as the “Nine O’clock Shooting” – there was a shooting nearly every night on the 4×12 shift somewhere around that time.

Headed out for first day as a Detective in November 1996

The Detectives, supervisors, and cops who I met during my time at East were some of the best that the profession has to offer. A number of the Detectives from our division would eventually move on to assignments at Homicide, basically the investigative elite.

Just after Christmas in 1999, I transferred to the Northeast Detective Division. This was mostly just a move to get a closer commute from my home, as my family had moved up to the Somerton section of Far Northeast Philly earlier that year.

Any thoughts that it might be quieter at NEDD than it had been at EDD went out the window on my very first night. Working a 4×12 shift, I got more jobs that night than I had in a typical night at East. And not only that, but I got a shooting that night. Yep, the old “Nine O’clock Shooting” followed me.

Just how bad the crime situation had gotten in the 15th District of Northeast Philly was a bit of an eye-opener. It would turn out that Northeast Division, while not as consistently violent as East, was every bit as busy from a policing and investigative perspective.

What I gradually found during the two and a half years that I worked at NEDD was that I was missing the streets. This was something that was a bit of a surprise to me. When I made Detective, became a member of the Gold Badge Club, and got to wear business clothes every day, I thought that I would never put on a uniform again.

But the cop bug began to bite again, and I took the test for Sergeant in the spring of 2002. I thought that I did well, but you never really know with those things until the results come out.

Final annual qualification at the shooting range, September 2017

In early August, my wife and I were preparing to go away on a vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The day before we left, my phone rang. It was my Sergeant at the time, Mark Burgmann, who said just one word: “Ten.

I knew his voice, but was in vacation mode and just wasn’t getting the context. “Ten what?” was my response. “You came out number ten on the Sergeant list.” I thought for sure that he was messing with me. I figured that I must have done well, but that he was bumping me up a bit. Turns out he wasn’t.

What that meant was, as long as the city actually hired off the list, I was getting promoted again. It was just a matter of time. Turns out, it was a lot of time.

There were no promotions off that list into 2003. Finally that spring, some seven months after the test results were announced, I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Following the promotional ceremony at Temple University, all of the promotees went to a downstairs area. There we were to turn in our old badges, and receive our new ones, along with our new assignments.

As I waited in line for my turn to get my new badge and assignment, a friend of mine, Brian McBride, was in line in front of me. Brian was also making Sergeant. When he got close enough to see the list, he turned to me and said “18th.”

In my head I thought “18th?” Honestly, I couldn’t even have told you where the 18th District was at that time. All I knew was that it was somewhere out in West Philly, a section of the city where I had never worked, lived, or traveled.

The 18th District headquarters is located at 55th and Pine Streets. When I tell you that there is no easy or quick way to get there from my home at the far end of the 7th District in Northeast Philly, well, that is an understatement.

Visiting with granddaughter Elysia as an 8th District patrol Sergeant in 2006

During the year that I spent out in the 18th, there were two days where, coming home on daywork do to severe traffic problems, it took me two hours to make the drive – without ever leaving the city of Philadelphia.

The 18th turned out to be a great learning experience, including that I got to know a section of the city that was unfamiliar to me. Approximately one-third of the district was taken up by the University of Pennsylvania, which afforded a number of opportunities to work with and around some great events such as the Penn Relays and Big Five games at the Palestra.

Two of the best medical facilities in the country, the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are in the 18th. Working with their E/R staffs was a great experience as well.

But it was just too far to travel every day, and the first opportunity that I got, I put in a transfer looking to move somewhere closer to home again. It took about a year, but in March of 2004 that transfer came through sending me up to the 8th District in Northeast Philly.

The transfer to the 8th was a godsend as far as travel goes, but it came with a qualification. I had to accept a “Last Out” assignment for the first time in my career. While at East Detectives, the department had briefly switched to a schedule that saw us work “around the clock” shifts for about a year. But this would be the first time that I had to work the overnight “graveyard shift” on a daily  basis.

Graduating from St. Joseph’s University in May 2009

For nearly four years, the 8th District was my home. It was very close to my actual family home, about a 10 minute drive. And it turns out that I was able to adapt to working overnight fairly easily. I did switch to a “regular” squad schedule of daywork and 4×12 for a year, but found that I actually preferred overnights, and so switched back.

Then in the fall of 2007, almost on a whim, I put in a transfer request that would change my life. Ever since high school, I had always wanted to be a teacher. That desire had never left me, and that it had never happened became a regret as I moved through my banking and police years.

I had never attended college, not one class, when in the fall of 2003 while at the 18th District at age 41, I finally changed that situation. The PPD had a working arrangement with the Community College of Philadelphia which allowed officers a chance to take classes at the Police Academy in their spare time. I signed up for the program, and finally began to work towards a degree.

Taking classes year-round, which continued as I moved to the 8th District, I finally attained my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from CCP in May of 2006. I then moved immediately on to Saint Joseph’s University to begin work towards a Bachelor’s Degree, which I would receive in 2009.

The school experience reignited my overall interest in education, and so in the fall of 2007 came that life-altering transfer request to the PPD Training Bureau. The transfer came through, and November 1 of that year began a decade-long run as an educator.

Teaching at Philadelphia Police headquarters in October 2013

I was finally getting to do what I had really always wanted. It was a natural fit, standing in front of a classroom and presenting police professionals the information that would help them do a better job in serving the public while also staying safe.

That was where my journey ended this past Friday. It was a journey that allowed me front row and behind-the-scenes exposure to some of the great events in Philadelphia over these past three decades.

Like most Philly cops, I worked all of the big Philly events, including things like the “Welcome America!” celebration around July 4th, the Greek Picnic, the annual bike race through Manayunk, the Dad Vail Regatta, and multiple “Freedom Medal” ceremonies.
I worked the Mummers Parade at a number of spots over the years, including four that stand out. With my brother in the early 90’s, we were the “beer wagon”, holding and transporting any cases that were confiscated by officers. Needless to say, there were many.

I worked the “Two Street” parade night celebration just once, about five years ago. And in both 2016 and 2017 got to work really fun assignments as a supervisor out on Broad Street, including right at City Hall a year ago.

In recent years there were multi-day details for the visit by Pope Francis in 2015, and the NFL Draft a year ago. While I didn’t have to work the Democratic Convention in the summer of 2016 thanks to a scheduled vacation, another political gathering was a career highlight.

In summer 2000 while I was still at East Detectives, the Republican National Convention came to Philadelphia. I was detailed to work for two weeks at the Dignitary Protection Unit, and was paired with a Philly cop named Billy Stuski, who was also from South Philly.

Billy and I were teamed up with a pair of cops from the District of Columbia Police Department as the security detail for U.S. Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma for the duration of the convention. Nickles was the Senate Majority Whip, one of the key spokespersons of the GOP at that time.

My Dad, retired Philly PD Captain Matthew Veasey, visits my office at the new Training Bureau in June 2016

For two weeks we went everywhere that the Senator went. Sometimes we did “advance” work, scouting out the locations that he was to visit the day before his actual trip. Most of the time we accompanied him around the city.

This was both during formal convention-related events, usually in the evening, and also during social events, such as various dinners, lunches, concerts, and more. He was an avid golfer, which got me into a handful of prestigious locations such as Merion and Pine Hill, where he shot rounds during his stay.

When reading this, you’ll note that I didn’t “name names” very much, other than my family. There are just too many of them. Suffice it to say that nearly every person who I worked with and got to know thanks to this career was appreciated.

Also, I didn’t tell many specific stories. I’ll save those for future police-related pieces here. Or maybe for some future book or script. There are a million of them.

At my retirement party on Friday night, a nice crowd showed up from all across these last 28 years. I was honored with a plaque and some very nice words that summed up my career. And then I was handed the microphone, always a dangerous proposition when I’ve had a few beers.

I kept it fairly short. But one statement that I made summed it up. Of all things, it was a takeoff of a Priscilla Presley quote from “The Naked Gun” when she made the statement “I like cops!” because I do. Actually, I love cops. And I love teaching. For the last decade, I got to teach cops.

Short of managing the Phillies, I can’t think of a better job for myself. Also, it was the prototypical “square peg in a square hole” – a perfect job for my tastes and my talents.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Police Department for all of the various opportunities of the last three decades. And more importantly, thank you to all of the unforgettable people who wear the badges and carry the guns. The men and women who stand the wall and work hard to keep our city safe around the clock every single day.

For nearly three decades, I was honored to continue a family tradition. I was honored to stand as a member of the Thin Blue Line. After my promotion to Sergeant, I was told by a Detective that “once a member of the Gold Badge Club, you’re always a member.” Well, for the rest of my life, I’ll be happy to remain a member of the Blue Family.

Jamie Moyer Signs Off

Jamey Moyer will not return to Comcast Sportsnet in 2015
The Phillies and Comcast SportsNet released a joint statement on Friday, letting fans know that 2014 Phillies television commentator, former pitcher, and area native son Jamie Moyer would not be returning to the broadcast booth next year.
The text of the statement included this closing: “Everyone at Comcast SportsNet and the Phillies thank Jamie for sharing his baseball expertise with our fans this season. We wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
Moyer was born in Sellersville, PA, about 25 miles north of Philadelphia. He attended Souderton Area High School, and then starred at Saint Joseph’s University. In 1984, Moyer set the Hawks school records for Wins, ERA, and Strikeouts. He has been inducted into the Saint Joe’s Baseball Hall of Fame and his jersey #10 was retired by the school.
Moyer was selected by the Chicago Cubs with their 6th round pick in the 1984 Draft, and was called up to the Major Leagues in 1986. Over a career that spanned parts of 25 seasons, Moyer fashioned a 226-214 record in over 4,000 innings pitched. He was an AL All-Star in 2003 with the Seattle Mariners, and 3x finished among the top 6 in AL Cy Young Award voting.
In August of 2006 at age 43, Moyer was traded to his hometown Philadelphia Phillies. Here he would go 56-40 over five seasons, including 16-7 as an integral part of the Fightin’ Phils 2008 World Series championship team. At age 48, Moyer underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2011 season. But he fought back to pitch one final year with Colorado in 2012.
After retirement, Moyer poured himself into work with his charitable entity, The Moyer Foundation, which helps children. He and wife Karen put much work into the fundraising and other events surrounding the work of the charity, and he is expected to use his time now both in working with TMF, as well as enjoying his family life. He and Karen have 8 children.
Moyer joined fellow former ’08 World Series hero Matt Stairs as broadcast booth rookies for the 2014 season. His performance as a color analyst graded out as uneven. But he was genuine and likeable, and it was widely felt that he could excel at the role if given a chance to grow and work with a strong play-by-play man. Now, Moyer will take those communication talents into the private sector and his personal life.
Part of the announcement included a statement from Moyer, which read in part as follows: “I thank Comcast SportsNet, the Phillies and, of course, the fans for letting me share my insights into the team this past season and wish the team success in the coming years.
We wish Jamie Moyer all the best of health and happiness. He will always be remembered as a hometown guy who came back to make good, and especially fondly for that key role he played in helping bring a world championship back to Philadelphia. You can follow Jamie on Twitter @jmo50Moyer, and the work of The Moyer Foundation @moyerfoundation.

The ancient Mariner keeping Phillies afloat

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Jamie Moyer was born on November 18th, 1962, just two days short of my own first birthday.

John F. Kennedy was the President of the United States and dealing with the Cuban missile crisis, West Side Story was highlighting the motion picture scene, television was still in black & white and had only three channels available, and Richard Nixon had lost the California gubernatorial race stating famously “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!”

In the preceding months, Hall of Fame athletes Jerry Rice of the NFL, Patrick Ewing of the NBA, Grant Fuhr of the NHL, and boxing champion Evander Holyfield were all born. All are long retired from their respective professional athletic careers. Meanwhile, Jamie Moyer continues at age 45 to slip low-80’s fastballs and an assortment of breaking pitches past hitters in Major League Baseball.

The team that he now pitches for is my team, and his hometown team, the Philadelphia Phillies. So far in 2008, the Phillies have been an underachieving squad that has alternated between first and second place in the National League East Division.

They were supposed to have a prolific offense, and they remain among the top five scoring clubs in the league, but they have been maddeningly inconsistent, scoring 20 runs one night and then going a week without scoring twenty total over five or six game stretches.

The starting rotation was supposed to be solid, with budding young ace Cole Hamels and returning member Brett Myers leading the way. Hamels has been okay, sometimes dominant, sometimes struggling. Myers was a disaster until a mid-season demotion to the minor leagues may finally have turned him around.

Through all the drama of a team trying to win its second straight divisional title, trying to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1980-81, the one consistently dependable character has been Jamey Moyer.

Last night in San Diego, Moyer pitched 7 innings of shutout ball to win a 1-0 duel with future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. The win kept the Phils within one game of the front-running and suddenly hot New York Mets.

Moyer is now 11-7 on the season, with a strong 3.64 ERA, and has logged 151 innings over 25 starts. In short, Jamie Moyer has been a godsend for the Phillies.

Moyer was born in the area, in Sellersville, PA, and attended Souderton High School and Saint Joseph’s University, making us fellow Hawks.

He even made his Major League debut in 1986 for the Chicago Cubs against the Phillies. That’s right, he made his debut in 1986! After a promising first few seasons with the Cubs he was dealt to Texas where injury and inconsistency led to his bouncing between there, Saint Louis, Detroit, Chicago again, Baltimore, and Boston in both the Majors and the minor leagues.

Finally, in 1996, ten years after making his debut, Jamie was dealt to the Seattle Mariners, a move that would change his career and his life. Jamie got to Seattle at a great time. It was the heyday of the Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson days in the Emerald City, and he took off professionally.

For the next decade, from 1996 through 2006, Moyer became a consistently strong starter, winning 145 games while losing just 87, and producing a pair of 20-win seasons. As he aged into his forties and continued to win there, Jamie gained the nickname ‘The Ancient Mariner’, and was a local icon in the Seattle area.

During the 2006 playoff race, Jamie was dealt to the Phillies and pitched strong, going 5-2 for a Phils team that fell short of the playoffs. But in 2007, the Phils finally won the NL East on the final day of the season.

Who was on the mound on that final decisive Sunday but one Jamie Moyer. He pitched 5+ shutout innings that day, and the Phils moved into the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

Once again this season, Jamie Moyer continues to defy the skeptics and Father Time, and continues to find MLB success. With the last two NL MVP’s in Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, MVP caliber 2nd baseman Chase Utley, longtime slugger Pat Burrell, revitalized closer Brad Lidge, as well as rotation-mates Hamels and Myers, the Phils are loaded with stars who apparently have more talent than Moyer.

But ‘The Ancient Mariner’ may in the end be the single most valuable player on this Phillies team. He just keeps confounding hitters, winning ball games, and keeping the Phillies close in the standings in this once again tight race.

Making middle-aged academic progress


I received some nice news in the mail yesterday, notification that I was named to the Dean’s List at Saint Joseph’s University for the Spring 2008 term.

You get named to the list for being a senior and maintaining at least a 3.50 GPA. Right now in the summer term, I am attending a Sociology class that is my next-to-last class work.

In the fall term, will have one more Sociology that will be my final class. That will finally earn me my Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

My current GPA is over 3.90, with only three A- grades keeping me from that perfect 4.0 over the years.

About five years ago at this time someone finally got through to me regarding the importance of going after my formal education, even in my 40’s. I had been putting it off for over two decades.

I had been set to attend LaSalle University here in Philadelphia when I first graduated from high school back in 1979. However, my high school girlfriend and I got pregnant, and I went out to work instead.

I had two beautiful daughters and a career in banking that lasted over a decade. Neither that career or the marriage lasted.

After joining the Philadelphia Police Department in 1990, learning and enjoying the police career was my life. And then, I met my wonderful wife and got married in 1995.

School was something that always remained a regret in my mind. I actually got to the point where I put it down, publicly taking the position that it wasn’t really important for someone to succeed in life.

Again, someone finally got through to me. That someone was anonymous on a message board, which is something that I absolutely hate, anonymity in posting on the web. But whatever that person said, it got to me.

So, for the past five years I have gone to night school. First to the Community College of Philadelphia, and now for the past two years at St. Joe’s.

Making the Dean’s List and being set to graduate next spring has made all the time, money, and work feel very worthwhile.

So thanks to that anonymous poster. Thanks to CCP and St. Joe’s for the opportunities. Thanks to the PPD for their relationship with those educational institutions.

If any of you are friends or family members, or even other cops or adults outside of the law enforcement profession, and you have been putting this or some other opportunity off because you feel it simply has passed you by, don’t do that.

Don’t sell yourself short. Go for it. You can do whatever you really decide to set your mind to accomplish. The important thing is to get started, and don’t give up or take a break until you reach your goal.

For me, now I have an alma mater (almost), and a Philly Big Five college that I can point to at tournament time with pride and say “The Hawk Will Never Die!

Midnight madness for Philly hoops Big Five

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St. Joe’s and Temple tangle at The Palestra in 2004


The Palestra in West Philly has been home to some of the greatest college basketball ever played.

The traditional home to Philly’s “Big Five” basketball schools: Penn, Villanova, St. Joe’s, Temple and LaSalle, will be rockin’ this winter as the rivalry celebrates it’s 50th Anniversary. 

The annual “Big Five Classic” will take place in December as a doubleheader tips off at the venerable old building, with LaSalle taking on Drexel (considered by many the 6th member) followed by Penn taking on Temple. 

It all starts tonight with “Midnight Madness”. 

The rules of the NCAA allow teams to begin practice at midnight tonight, and so many teams kickoff their seasons at that point with traditional opening celebrations. 

Villanova has national championship aspirations. Penn will once again be a contender for the Ivy League title and its accompanying automatic berth in the NAAA tournament. 

St. Joe’s and Temple, led by veteran coach’s Phil Martelli and John Chaney respectively, are always strong clubs. LaSalle has 9-straight losing seasons, but has reasonable hopes at finally reaching the .500 mark. 

The men’s basketball teams of Philly’s Big Five schools should prove to be tough on any opponent that they come up against, and should provide a nice amateur sporting alternative to the higher-priced pros this winter.