(left) continues police work in honor of his brother, John, a Haddon Heights officer killed in 1995.
That's what I try to do,' Rich Norcross
Why police tradition runs in familiesWhy police tradition runs in familiesLaw enforcers driven by prideFamily serves, protects CamdenUniform a good fit after allRICHARD NORCROSS
Age: 40.Title: Agent, Camden County
Prosecutor's Office Intelligence Unit.History: Joined the Woodbury Police Department in 1985 as a cadet.
Joined the National Park Police Department as a patrolman in 1987.
and John Norcross would be veterans of the Haddon Heights Police Department
by now and Sylvan Avenue would continue to be no different than any other picturesque, tree-lined street in town.
On April 20, 1995, a tragedy ripped that future from Rich Norcross
younger brother as the sounds of gunshots rattled a quiet street.Leslie Nelson, a heavily armed transsexual, opened fire on Rich Norcross, then a borough detective, and John L. McLaughlin, an investigator with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, when they went to the home to serve a weapons warrant.
In the past decade, Rich Norcross
has grappled with that tragedy but the deep bonds of brotherhood and the seemingly ancient brotherhood of law enforcement propel him to continue.
"I do it to honor him and to honor Jack," said Norcross
, 40, of his
decision to stay in law enforcement after the incident."I as a person don't like to admit defeat and I don't like to give up.We do this job because we think that it's important.It's about the importance of service."Rich Norcross said his family moved around quite a bit when he was young and it drew him closer to his younger brother through the years.
"We were each other's best friends.We shared the same interests," he
...Rich worked in Woodbury and National Park before joining Haddon Heights in 1989 as a patrolman.
said working with his
brother was no different than growing up with him.
"It wasn't awkward at all.We had a good relationship," he
said."We always worried a little bit about each other because we were brothers."
Families in law enforcement, whether related or not, should "cherish" one another, Rich Norcross
"Don't take each other for granted," he
said.In 1996, injuries from the shooting forced Rich Norcross to retire from Haddon Heights but he joined the Camden County Prosecutor's Office as an agent.
Along with his
duties in the intelligence unit, Rich Norcross
also speaks to various law enforcement groups about surviving critical incidents.Rich Norcross
has grappled with the aftershock of the shootings for more than 10 years.He
survived the tragedy physically but he
could easily allow it to swallow him up emotionally.He's
choosing another route.
"You can take any tragedy and learn from it," he