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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    Put Deserving Retired Officers on The Wall


Police and
Law Enforcement News

Put Deserving Retired Officers on the Wall
Police and Law Enforcement News
Wednesday, January 21, 2008 12:00 a.m.

When are you truly off duty?

As you walk out of your headquarters in your civilian clothes after a shift?  Five days into an eight-day vacation?  What about when you’re three years into retirement?

For Carmen DeGregorio the answer was “none of the above.”

You see, Carmen didn’t let his job title dictate when he should get involved and lend help to someone in need, and he didn’t measure bravery by the stamp on his badge. 

Last November, retired Millville Police Officer Carmen DeGregorio was at the  WaWa convenience store on East Main Street in Millville when he noticed a man forcing a woman into the trunk of a car.  The 51-year-old retired three years earlier but didn’t hesitate, not for a second.

DeGregorio immediately intervened and began struggling with the suspect.  Ultimately, DeGregorio broke the woman away from the suspect and was able to rescue her from the apparent kidnapping.  As he was escorting the woman toward the WaWa store, the suspect jumped in his car and began heading for the two.  The following moments were described in a Press of Atlantic City article.

As DeGregorio walked [the victim] toward the store to safety, [the actor] allegedly began circling the parking lot at a high speed.

It was at that point, authorities added, that DeGregorio began walking toward the rows of gas pumps to divert [the actor’s] attention away from [the victim]. Witnesses told police that [the actor] aimed his car directly at DeGregorio before striking him and continuing toward the short, thick steel poles that serve as barriers to Wawa's gas pumps, police said.”

Carmen DeGregorio was pronounced dead some 36 hours later leaving behind his wife and two teenage children.  


Unfortunately, because DeGregorio’s job status was changed three years earlier from “active” to “retired,” Carmen DeGregorio’s family will miss out on an enormous package of benefits and other assistance.

And the tragic episode has raised a rather serious question: should Carmen’s name be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial?

If you ask the members of his department, Millville PD, the answer is a resounding yes.

We agree.

On that day back in November, Carmen had a choice.  He could have chosen to be a good witness to a kidnapping and quite possibly a murder.  He could have chosen to call 9-1-1 and write down the license plate of the car.  He could have chosen to do absolutely nothing.


But Carmen didn’t choose any of those. 

Instead, he chose to follow his instinct. 

Instead, he chose to take action and put himself in harm’s way.

He risked his life not to protect a brother officer or even a family member. 

He risked his life for a complete stranger.

I can only hope that the chills I get from writing that somehow make it to those reading it. 

He risked his life for a complete stranger.

Opponents may argue that the wall only honors those who fell in the line of duty.  Well, duty for some ends at the end of an eight-hour tour.  For Carmen DeGregorio, duty had no end. 

Carmen’s decision to act was born out of a career of law enforcement, and he fell doing the job of law enforcement.  No one else in that parking lot rose to help that woman.  It was the policeman.

He lived as a cop and died as a cop, and the fact that at the time of his death the stamp on his badge read “retired” is so incredibly insignificant that it would almost be comical should he be disqualified from an honor he so clearly deserves.

We honor fallen volunteer officers, special officers, and part time officers even if they have just a month of service as we should.  Not honoring a man who spent half his life serving and protecting who died saving a life would be wrong.

The Wall is a sacred place that honors our fellow knights.  We must always protect it and hand it down from generation to generation.  It is strictly for bona fide law enforcement officers and must always remain that way. 

To include Carmen might require Memorial officials to carefully amend their criteria or create a special section.  Inclusion should not be for every off duty or retired officer who passes away.  Inclusion must be narrowly limited only to the most deserving.  Inclusion must be narrowly limited only to those who fall in the line of duty.

Carmen DeGregorio died in the line of duty. 

Millville PD, keep up the effort.  We’ll keep everyone updated on this story.



Share you Thoughts on This Editorial

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission.  Use the scroll box below to submit your thoughts:



Your Responses

On Friday November 14,2008 The Newark Archdiocese held their 16th Annual Blue Mass.

We honored four active law enforcement officers along with Ret P/O. Carmen DeGregorio.  Upon reading this article I felt compelled to make sure That Carmen would also be honored as he should. I feel his name should be added to the National Law Enforcement Wall, not only for his actions but for his remaining family members to know that their loved one will always be remembered as the hero he was for they are the only ones who feel the 100% loss.

Ret. Newark Det.Dennis Kihlberg
Founder and CO-Chairman Newark Archdiocese Blue Mass

This retired Officer took an oath when he became a cop.  His oath stay's with him until the day he dies.  Add this brave brother to the wall!  In situations like this a law should be enacted allowing for the family to receive the benefits of an Officer who died in the line of duty.  This Officer died in the line of duty. 

St. Michael continue to keep us safe.

Once a cop always a cop!

Retired or not as a cop you will do what your gut tells you. This officer is a Hero! He should be treated as one along side his active brothers! He should be given all rights and privileges as a active cop. What does the PBA and FOP think?

At times we can be our own worst enemy. Add him !!!

The "Wall" honors all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in which Officer Carmen DeGregorio has made. Care for the family he has left behind, as he cared for a complete stranger that fateful day.

This officer deserves full benefits of an active duty officer. He stepped in as any man or women who has held a badge and did his job.  Anything less than honoring his family with full benefits and honorable mention as a hero would be wrong.

When I took my Oath of Office I don't recall reciting a clause like "until retirement do we part."

Officer Carmen DeGregorio raised his right and with his left on a bible and swore to support & defend our nation & state and perform all duties appropriate as a POLICE OFFICER. He died as a POLICE OFFICER.

Absolutely! The very least that can be done for this heroic officer's family would be to give them the financial peace of mind that a continued pension and benefits bring....

Ptl DeGregorio should be honored on the "Wall." He is a true legend to the law enforcement community. He could of looked the other way or simply made a call, but he acted and made the ultimate sacrifice.

I completely agree, Officer Carmen DeGregorio clearly acted as a law enforcement officer, and through his actions he saved that woman's live.  He and his family deserve for his name to be placed on the wall.
Police and Law Enforcement News
Wednesday, January 21, 2008 12:00 a.m.

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