Cops normally suppress their emotions while in uniform, but sometimes you’ll hear a catch in their throat that conveys more than words about their feelings for a fallen officer.
“He was a very friendly, compassionate person,” Sgt. Dan Malone recalled after Officer Robert Shultis was run over while making an arrest. “He always took time to lend a hand to the other guys,” Malone was saying. Then the catch in his voice. “He was Just a good guy to have around.”
Shultis died February 10, 1990, after a car struck him and 23-year-old Troy E. Durham of Mentone. They were hurled 30 feet along the 2700 block of Arrowhead Avenue. “Officer Shultis was attempting to arrest the subject, and they were struggling in the street when they were struck,” Lt. Thomas Maier wrote soon after the accident.
“We believe the arrest was drug-related,” he said, though he declined to elaborate. Durham also was gravely injured. He died at San Bernardino County Medical Center.
“We don’t know the reason for the initial stop.” said Maier. They may never know. Shultis didn’t say much to the radio dispatcher, other than to give them his location and his suspect’s license plate number.
Police stated that the teenage driver involved in the accident was not at fault.
Bobby Shultis was a good cop – and a caring person, his friend said. Particularly, the 34-year-old bachelor loved kids, Migaiolo recalled. If they were into booze or drugs, for example, Shultis often tried to recruit them for the department’s Explorer Scouts. “It wasn’t unusual for him to have Explorers riding with him two times a week,” said Migaiolo.
Off duty, Shultis played on two baseball teams, golfed, bowled, organized fund-raisers for the San Bernardino Police Officers Association, and acted as the group’s treasurer. “He would have been a detective before the end of the year,” said Migaiolo. “And he was building his (promotion) package for supervisory level.”
Police work apparently ran in Shultis’ family, some of whom still live on Long Island, N.Y. “He had relatives on the New York Police Department,” said his friend.
Shultis became a police officer five years ago, after a 10-year Air Force career. When he left the service, he was a staff sergeant at Norton Air Force Base. “I think they were sorry to see him leave,” said Police Chief Dan Robbins. “And we were anxious to get him.” While he was still in the service, Shultis joined the department as a police reserve officer. He did well, officials say, and was hired full time in April 1985.
Shultis did well in the Air Force, but police work was what he really wanted to do, said James Linzels, Shultis’ former supervisor. “He fell in love with it, Linzels recalled. “He would say it was his calling. Apparently, it was.
“He’s got all types of commendations and letters,” said Capt. Lorry Richards, thumbing through a police personnel file. As commander of the department’s patrol division, Richards was one of Shultis’ senior bosses. As a cop, Richards said, Shultis was a good patrolman who was on the promotion list.
Shultis spent the first half of 1989 on special assignment with a police strike team that focuses on high-crime trouble spots. He liked it, and did well. Perhaps most importantly, his boss said, “He was a nice guy.”