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Name : Rotanz, Richard 

Rank: Det.

Shield #: 2847 Command: 103 Pct.
Date of Death: 1968-08-21   Cause of Death: L.O.D.-Off duty-Heart Attack
  ?A Shield Comes Home - by Lorraine Rotanz Augustine

The last time I saw shield #2847 was when it was pinned to the uniform of Detective Richard A. Rotanz on the day of his funeral, August 26, 1968. As I stood there with my three young sons, saying our last goodbyes, I wondered what was in store for us. The shield caught my eye; he was so proud to be a cop in the NYPD.

The following year I started nursing school. It was an experience, considering all of us going to school, doing homework and all of the things that go with getting an education.

The years were going by and the boys were growing up. They asked what I would do when they were on their own. I suggested I would spend four months with each one, every year. Their response was "Mom, ... no way!" and they went out and found me Pete Augustine.

Pete was a widower and a volunteer firefighter with the Setauket Fire Department, as was my eldest son. As time went on, Pete and I married. It was not The Brady Bunch, but we survived.

Throughout the years, whenever I opened my jewelry box, a miniature gold shield #2847, attached to a gold charm bracelet, would be there.

Then one day a small velvet drawstring bag was in its place. It contained the miniature gold shield attached to a gold chain to wear around my neck -- a surprise from Pete. A nice surprise.

Shortly thereafter, I joined the Setauket Fire Department as an EMT and I met Thomas Gallagher, a young volunteer firefighter who was awaiting an appointment to the NYPD.

Nine years later, Tom told me that he was to be promoted to Detective. I thought for a while about shield #2847 and asked Tom to find out who had that shield at the present time. He discovered that it was in use and the Detective with shield #2847 was scheduled to retire. I suggested that, if at all possible, he might be able to have that shield assigned to him, as I would very much like for him to have it.

Tom received his own gold shield in August, 1999 and congratulations were in order. He told me he was still working on obtaining #2847.

One morning in September of 1999, Tom stoped by my home and said, "I got it!"

He opened his hand and there it was. I held it for a few moments and my thoughts went back 31 years to the last time that I saw it. Tom told me he got shield #2847 "yesterday."

"Yesterday" was 9-9-99. September 9th was Rich's birthday; he would have been 71 years old. I reminded Tom that I had not seen shield #2847 for 31 years. Tom said that he would be 31 years old in a few weeks.

I knew there was something bigger than all of us out there.

Hugs and tears were in order.

The shield had come home.

Reprinted from The Gold Shield, December 2000 issue. ? 2000 Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Comments from Friends    
Dad, It has been 37 years since you left us and I never got a chance to say good-bye. I miss you so and wish I could just have 5 minutes to talk to you. Mom, Bob and Richie are doing great and I know you are proud of all of them. As for me, I strive to be the best and to live in your legacy but it hurts so much not to hear your voice, see your smile, and hear your laugh. I just hope that you are proud to call me your son. I have a tough time describing you to your grandchildren; Thomas, Timothy, and Taylor. It is like trying to describe Love, it?s a feeling, a presence, a warm and secure feeling in your heart that makes you feel so special. I would give anything to hold your hand again and walk in the park one more time. I?ve had a lot of great things happen to me that I wish you could have been apart of but the greatest part of my life is Linda and it has been 24 years since we said ?I Do!? You would love her and I know she would not stop laughing at all your stories and antics. I don?t believe in many things but I do hope that you are watching over me and are bragging to your friends saying, ?He?s my boy!? I ask of you just one request, and that is to give me the strength and direction to be half the Dad that you where to me. Good-bye, Your son Thomas Henry
— Tom

— Joe Torregrosa

rest in peace.
— sjs
Posted: November 3, 2006, 10:57 am

Det Rotanz, you have a special family, you will never be forgotten . Rest in Peace Richard.
— Tommy
Posted: August 21, 2013, 4:45 am

Richard we continue to pray for you. Rest in Peace.
— Tommy
Posted: August 24, 2014, 9:45 am

Richard we continue to pray for you. Rest in Peace. You have some family.
— Tommy
Posted: August 31, 2015, 7:08 am



Those who bloom in the hearts of others never fade away