The Ties That Bind
In 1997, Fairview Police Officer Robert Salazar started his career with the Mesquite Police Department. He was hired by Fairview PD thirteen years ago. Officer Salazar has served as a patrol officer, Student Resource Officer (SRO), with the mounted patrol unit and a field training officer. Almost five years ago his nephew, Shaun Tomlinson, was hired as a Fairview Police Officer. In February of 2017, Stephen Tomlinson, Shaun’s older brother, was hired by Fairview PD. (Salazar’s son is a police officer with Carrollton PD.)
Salazar said he knew the type of officers that Fairview Police Chief Granver Tolliver was looking for. He has known his nephews since birth; he knew that due to their character they would be great additions to the department, so he made the necessary introductions. He said, “I’m very proud to have them here.”
Officer Salazar reflects on a time when he feels he experienced success as an officer. When he was a SRO at Lovejoy High School a student, who was a junior, was being bullied. The student said that he didn’t have any friends and that others had told him to kill himself because he didn’t have any friends. The student’s parents found a suicide note, however the student reached out to his brother who was away at college. The brother contacted Salazar and said the brothers were going to meet at their house to talk. Salazar met them at their house and talked with the student and family members. They were able to convince the student that suicide was not the solution and set up counseling. The student has since graduated and when they cross paths on the road they honk and wave at each other.
His favorite aspect of being an officer is the human contact. He said, “I’m a people person, always have been.” His least favorite aspect is when he can’t get through to a person to change their actions and has to take them to jail.
In February of 2013, Officer Shaun Tomlinson completed the police academy at Collin College. He was hired by Fairview PD in December of 2013. He said his uncle was a big influence in his decision to become an officer. When he was in high school he did ride-alongs with his uncle and other Fairview officers. He loved the family oriented atmosphere of the department. He is currently a patrol officer and occasionally the shift leader on night shift.
A time when Officer Shaun Tomlinson felt he experienced success as a Fairview officer was when he was called to a home where two brothers were having a physical altercation. The younger brother was larger in size and very upset. Officer Tomlinson was able to find common ground with the younger brother, one of those being that they both played high school football. Because of the personal connection, the younger brother felt at ease with Tomlinson and the situation was deescalated. Both brothers apologized. At a later date, Officer Tomlinson was working at a football game where the family saw him and gave him hugs and took their picture with him. He said, “It is good to know I made a difference by talking to someone.”
He said his favorite aspect of being an officer is helping people. His least favorite aspect is when he has to deliver bad news such as the death of a loved one.
Fairview PD was looking for police officer candidates. Salazar recommended his other nephew Stephen Tomlinson. Fairview sponsors candidates to go through police academy. Stephen was hired by Fairview in February of 2017 and started police academy in Arlington at the same time. He was sworn in as a Fairview officer on August 1, after completing the academy. He has been in training since that time. Training consists of learning the geography, focusing on traffic laws and interacting with people. He has worked on day, evening and night shifts. His training will be complete in February.
Before deciding to become an officer, he was in retail sales. He said he always knew he wanted to become an officer. His brother was surprised when he heard that his brother wanted to become an officer, but was excited to know he would be at Fairview PD with him. His uncle laughingly added that Shaun was particularly happy about the fact that he would have seniority over his older brother.
Officer Stephen Tomlinson looks forward to seeing all of his training come together. He wants to be a successful officer, one who not only does the job, but does it well.