Friday ended a 32-year career in public service for a Tulsa homicide detective who spent 15 years working some of the worst crime scenes imaginable. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says he is the city's foremost expert on blood spatter and according to his fellow officers, has set a standard of professionalism they all strive to achieve.
This is a rare event, Tulsa's homicide squad willingly getting in front of a news camera, wanting to talk. There's only thing that could make this happen, the retirement of this man, Tom Campbell.
He's a bit of a legend on the department. He played football during the cops vesus cons games and is known as a straight shooter and a hard worker. Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Huff: "Show up for work day in and day out, can't remember a day when he called in sick, he's given the city its money's worth every day."
Tulsa Police Cpl. Gene Watkins: "When I came on, he's what I wanted to be, he's a great guy."
His co-workers marvel that he's even here, because during a 1985 drug raid, a suspect opened fire from behind a closed front door with a shotgun. The force of it knocked Tom off the porch. His fellow officers were sure he was dying, but, not him. Tom Campbell: "I didn't think so, I'd had better days, I knew it wasn't anything, I live through it."
Sgt Mike Huff: "Everybody else on that block thought he was dead." His toughness prevailed and he was back at work just six weeks later.
His quiet demeanor doesn't fool those who work with him. They know he won't hesitate to straighten someone out, they even have a nickname for it.
Tulsa Police Mike Nance: "Everyone's familiar with the look, you get that from your wife, but with Tom, it's Tommy Talk and when you get that, you messed up."
Tom's embarrassed by all the fuss, afterall this is a job he's wanted since high school and he's loved the chance to do some good, he's just surprised it's now over. "It's been a long time. It doesn't seem that way now, but, points along the way, it did."
The city and the citizens owe him a hearty thanks.
Tom plans to spend time with his wife, children and grandson, although he's not done with police work just yet, he'll be testifying in cases about blood evidence, for months to come.