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Bob Purvis

Class of 1970

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Hello to all my former classmates of the Frankford High School Class of 70. I've been sitting down to write this for about two and a half years,  after retiring four years ago and reading some of your stories.

A Truly Blessed Life

I was particularly inspired by my friend, Ed Dickson's story. I found his life's journey fascinating.  Since high school, or two years after, I have been "truly blessed in my life."  And if I ever was to write a book, that would be the title.  But, I believe Teddy Pendergrass, already used tit for his memoir, Truly Blessed.


To begin with, I didn’t take high school serious enough to consider college as my next option. Unfortunately, I saw high school as one big party.   One night, during the fall after graduation, I was hanging out with fellow graduate, Drew Davidson, and complaining about my plight—working a dead-end job.


A Simple Conversation

Changed My Life

Drew suggested I take the Philadelphia Police Test.

(His father was a retired sergeant) I said, "What?  Me a Cop, you got to be kidding!"  I thought about it...and how I would double my salary, so I took the test.


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The city was hiring up to that point like gang busters, and then it slowed due to lawsuits. You had to be 19 so that delayed things too. Soon after my 20th birthday, I was sitting in the Philadelphia. Police Academy along with five other Class of 1970 grads.  I was just happy as I could be, but little did I know that I was beginning an unbelievable career ride that would last  40 years and eight months.

Headed to Detective


I was just happy at that point to be in a position to push a squad car around for the next 30 years. I have been on a roll assignment ever since. After spending five years in patrol, I transferred to the Crime Scene Unit. (CSU)  Working alongside our detectives, inspired me to take the Detective Written Promotional Examination.


I lacked self-confidence, so I studied hard just to prove that I could pass the test.  It worked. I was high enough on the list to get promoted.  After four years, I had to leave CSU, because newly promoted detectives had to serve in field divisions.  


 The Real Fun Begins

from 9 to 5 

I spent six years in a field division, and then put in for a transfer to a Detective Bureau Special Unit.  Now. this is when the real fun begins.  I spent 15 years on shift work,  but this move was a 9 to 5, weekends off thing. And so, this would continue for the rest of my 25 plus remaining years on the police force.


For the next three years, I worked for a time in Municipal Corruption, other than Police Corruption. From there, I moved to working in the Police Applicant Background Unit. During this period, I was exposed to working on large scale dignitary visits, which caught my interest.

Visiting Dignitaries Sparked

My Next Move


I transferred to the Small Dignitary Protection Unit

Believe it or not, Philadelphia gets a lot of visits from world dignitaries and our nation’s leaders—all with protective details we supplemented.

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Over the next 17 years, I spent my time in a dream job. During the summer, I was able to take Mondays and Fridays off, if nothing was going on.   My wife and three children spent summers at our Jersey Shore home, and when I  worked--I commuted every day.  Truly a job I could retire from, but there was one final move.

In 2008, the Administration changed and Mayor Nutter appointed an outsider, Charles Ramsey, as Police Commissioner.  I was presented an opportunity to work as the Commissioner's Personal Staff Aide.  I took the job and so glad I did...working for Charles Ramsey was a dream job. I never met a more nicer, sincere and honest person who treated his staff like gold.  Ultimately, after 5 1/2 years in the office, I finally retired.   I recently celebrated my 42nd wedding anniversary.   Here's an interesting story about how I met my wife.


I Found Love

at the Fotomat


I was on the police force for about nine months, and was assigned a foot beat at the old Korvette Shopping Center at Welsh and Roosevelt Blvd.  How boring for a rookie cop.


I was so bored that I got into my private auto (a no-no) and drove over to 8800 Frankford Ave to the Torresdale Diner (now the Dining Car) where a lot of our guys hung out or ate lunch. On site was an old Fotomat Booth.


Our guys always looked after the girls working those spots. I went over to say hello, and ask if the girl had seen any police officers.  That's when I met the love of my life.

A Family Emerges


She was a school teacher moonlighting during the summer to keep busy. Simply gorgeous!  We had our first date and since then, have been inseparable. We have three grown children, all college-educated (a goal I set) and successful. Our sole granddaughter just turned three.

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Share Your Storyy,

You'll Be So Glad You Did

Besides Ed Dickson and others inspiring me to write this, I was sitting one day and suddenly it hit me of how good I had it.  I was in a job that I never knew what was going to happen from one minute to the next. No boredom there.


My career took me where I would have never Imagined.  I encourage others to write, so we can enjoy your stories too.  I was a very private person, so for me to write this was a big leap. I wish you all the best life has to offer, now and in the future.

It's your story to tell...write it plain, type it up, share it at and/or  Then, enjoy the fruits from your labor of love and the joy that comes with it.


Let's keep the inspiration going.

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