Dear NCLEES Member,
It is with a heavy heart that I must inform our member organizations that Richard
“DEZ” Desmond has suddenly passed away on January 3, 2019.
At the time of his passing, Richard Desmond was the President of the Camden
Co. Police and Fire Emerald Society; and the Drum Major of its Pipe and Drum
Richard Desmond also served as National President of the National Conference
of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies from 2005 to 2008.
Those of you who didn't know "Dez", he was the one with the bushy mustache
and the large black ostrich feathered hat either having a beer at the Irish Channel
or leading the Camden Pipe and Drums in most if not all our Memorial Marches
through the streets Washington DC sometimes “authorized” and some- times not
so authorized marches honoring our heroes during Police Week.
Whether “DEZ” had his whole New Jersey band in DC or not, he would never
leave a piper or drummer stranded always allowing them to march in his ranks.
Being the son of a FDNY Fire fighter and himself a retired Camden City (NJ)
Police Officer he was a strong supporter of all First Responders and those who
served and are presently serving in the Armed Forces.
While in Washington DC during Police Week, he always brought his band to
Walter Reed Army Hospital to perform for the veterans and the staff.
I would like to share one memorable moment Richie Desmond’s life.
On July 24, 1998, U. S. Capitol Police Officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson
were killed in the Capitol by a crazed gunman. On July 26, 1998, the Speaker of
the House Newt Gingrich order that these police officers lie in state in the
Rotunda of U.S. Capitol. With less than 48 hours Richie Desmond summoned
mass bands from New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Massachusetts, Ohio and
Kentucky to play at the Capitol and Arlington Cemetery. Richie served as the
Drum Major for the mass bands for this historical event. Never in the history of
this country, have two police officers lied in state in the Rotunda with the
presence of a large gathering of police pipebands. This event was broadcasted
nationwide. On May 13, 1999, Congress passed a Resolution recognizing the
efforts of National Conference of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies for this
historical event. Without the efforts of Richie Desmond, this monumental effort
would not have been accomplished.
There is no greater praise I can give a fellow law enforcement officer than to call
him or her a "Cop’s Cop"; and Richie was just that a Cop’s Cop.
I am confident that Richie, along with Jimmy O’Connell (Chicago Emerald
Society-Midnight Piper) and Pipe Major Finbar Devine (NYPD Pipes and Drums)
are forming up a Pipeband in heaven. It is a pipeband that will play heavenly
tunes for eternity.
Richie Desmond will be sorely missed both at the national level and his local
level in his home state of New Jersey. We thank his family for sharing his life with
*The funeral for Des is set for next Wednesday (1/9) at St Agnes Church, Coles Rd & Little Gloucester Rd, Gloucester Twp. Viewing will be from 0900 to 1200, with a mass at Noon. Repast is immediately following at Bellmawr Fire Dept, Lewis Ave Bellmawr.
May he rest in peace.
2nd Vice President Chuck Meissler
Past President Pat O'Brien