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Remembering a Hero

by Linda Searles June 02, 2021

As Law Enforcement continues to find innovative ways to build trust with minority communities across the nation, we must not forget the sacrifices that these men and women have made to keep us safe each and every day. Andrew Jacob, the president of Thin Blue Line USA and the Thin Blue Line USA team have worked since 2014 at shining a light on the many positive contributions by the vast majority of law enforcement personnel across the nation.

Sergeant Patrick O'Rourke Portrait Photo

On Sunday, September 9, 2012, in Andrew's home town, Sergeant Patrick John O'Rourke was killed in the line of duty. Andrew attended the memorial ceremony and was deeply moved by this tragedy. After the death of the officer, Andrew's father, who runs a company in the plastics industry, came to the department asking how he could help them. The department responded by saying they would like to send members from their agency along with Officers who were at the scene of the tragic shooting of Officer O’Rourke to Washington DC for police week. Andrew's father agreed to send 16 department members to attend National Police Week. This act of kindness afforded 6 Honor Guards, 2 Dispatchers, 1 PSA, 5 Officers and the Chief and Deputy Chief to attend the dedication in Washington DC for Sgt. Patrick O’Rourke whose name was being inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial that year.

West Bloomfield Honor Guard

Soon, Andrew's father wanted to extend even more help to the West Bloomfield Police Department. He worked with the deputy chief of police of West Bloomfield and developed a scholarship program for officers' children. Andrew's father pioneered the scholarship program and when Andrew, founded Thin Blue Line USA, Thin Blue Line USA joined the scholarship program. To date Andrew's father's company and Thin Blue Line USA have donated $80,000+ to the scholarship program.

It has been over 8 years since we sadly lost Sergeant Patrick O'Rourke on September 9, 2012. Sergeant O’Rourke worked for the Bloomfield Police Department for 12 years, his badge number was 55 and he was known to his colleagues as Rudy. I took the time to reach out to the department to ask them to share some of the memories they had of their friend and colleague. Deputy Chief Curt Lawson remembers his quiet demeanor and generosity. Lawson and O'Rourke worked together as undercover officers for the regional surveillance unit called SONIC (Southern Oakland Narcotics Intelligence Consortium). Many community police departments, including Novi, Farmington Hills, and West Bloomfield, have had dedicated members in SONIC. O'Rourke and Lawson spent many hours together doing surveillance on suspects responsible for major crimes. They talked about their families and about their futures. Lawson says that losing Sergeant O'Rourke was immeasurable to the entire department. Shortly after losing Sergeant O'Rourke, Deputy Chief Curt served in the role as the financial Liaison and managed funds from the community, state and federal level for Sergeant O'Rourke’s family.

Sergeant Tom Carline and Sergeant Patrick O'Rourke’s worked for several years together while in the SONIC task force team. Sergeant O'Rourke worked surveillance and narcotics in the task force for approximately 6 years throughout Southeast Michigan. He was a senior Detective in the task force and was known for his calm demeanor regardless of the chaotic circumstances surrounding them, whether it was vehicle pursuit or fighting with a suspect(s) who were actively resisting. According to Carline, Sergeant O'Rourke’s calm demeanor and ability to make solid quick decisions were one of the reasons he was often the first guy in the door on search warrants. The execution of search warrants is a very dangerous job where things can go bad very fast. Sergeant O'Rourke was also known by his colleagues for being very good at conducting surveillance, which Carline admits doesn't come easy for many Detectives.

We remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Patrick O'Rourke. May his memory continue to be a blessing to his family, community, and the greater Thin Blue Line USA community.

Linda Searles
Linda Searles


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