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Parker's family was the NYPD

September 17, 2004

As tragic as the death of Det. Patrick Rafferty was, he had a family - his wife Eileen, his children Kara, Kevin and Emma, and at this time of tragedy, a brother to speak for him.

Det. Robert Parker, who was fatally shot with Rafferty, allegedly by Marlon Legere with Parker's gun, had no immediate family. At least not in the traditional sense. His family was the NYPD, his home the 67th Precinct detective squad, his closest friends a group of retired cops who had partnered with him years before in Brooklyn North Task Force - Bernard Harvin and Richard Stokes, Deborah Hailstalk and Monte Long.

After Parker and Rafferty were shot last Friday night, Harvin, Stokes and Long rushed to Kings County Hospital, arriving shortly before Rafferty's family and shortly after Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Harvin, Stokes and Long stood at Parker's deathbed. Spontaneously, they said a prayer for him.

Long, a former assistant chief and now the director of security for KeySpan, wrote his obituary, which was passed along to Newsday:

Robert Lee Parker was born on Dec. 5, 1960, in Brooklyn, the only son of the late Ruby Lee Parker. "Bobby" was raised on St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights. He graduated from Boys and Girls High School, where he fell in love with wrestling and considered becoming a professional wrestler.

He also dreamed of becoming a detective. In 1980 he enrolled in John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and was appointed a police officer on Jan. 5, 1982. He started his career in Brooklyn's Neighborhood Stabilization Unit 13 that covered Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant and East New York. He later served in the Brooklyn North Task Force, the narcotics division and the 67th detective squad.

"Bobby made the squad his home away from home," Long wrote. "He was a gentle giant who loved life and people. He investigated complex cases, received numerous departmental awards and was loved and respected by the communities he served."

On Aug. 7, 1987, he was promoted to third grade detective. On June 29, 2000, he was promoted to second grade.

He is survived by his cousin Dorothy Thompson of North Carolina, stepdaughter Haadiyah Davis and stepgrandson Elijah Majors.

Earlier this week Kelly posthumously promoted him and Rafferty to detective first grade.

Police museum update. Four years after its inception, former commissioner Howard Safir and his wife Carol's pet project, the Police Museum, continues to lose money.

The museum got off to a shaky start after Safir, police commissioner from 1996 to 2000, put the arm on corporate executives for contributions, including current Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Stephen Hammerman, then a top official at Merrill Lynch. Hammerman passed.

Many people in law enforcement feel the idea of a police museum is a sound one, especially since Sept. 11, but that its location on Old Slip near the East River makes it inaccessible. While museum spokeswoman Colleen Roche says attendance has increased to more than 40,000 a year, others note that the Museum of Natural History had more than 4 million visitors last year.

Sources say that Carol Safir, chairwoman of the museum's board, initially rejected help from such museum experts as Betsy Gotbaum, then head of the New-York Historical Society, who offered the Police Museum space there. Roche said the museum has a "great relationship" with the historical society, and added "no one knows anything" about such an offer.

No free lunch. Commissioner Kelly was the luncheon speaker last week for a meeting of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, an unofficial support group for the FBI and other federal agencies. But no one from the FBI showed up to hear the speech at the University Club.

FBI spokesman Jim Margolin said the FBI had two unrelated events commemorating Sept. 11, including a memorial service for John O'Neil, the bureau's terrorism expert killed at the World Trade Center.

"Pat called Kelly when he got the invite to the luncheon," said Margolin, referring to the FBI's New York head Pat D'Amuro. "He said to Ray, 'We're sorry, we're not going to have anyone in attendance because of these two events.'"

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© 2004 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.