Tom Mattmuller looks back on 30 years of service

VENICE – With a few tears and a few laughs, retired Venice Police Chief Tom Mattmuller, who was honored by Venice City Council on Tuesday, reflected on a career that turned out to be an answer to a prayer which he did three decades ago, while fishing at the North Pier.

“I am a Christian who is just getting up the ranks of chief of police, retiring in a few weeks,” Mattmuller told a bustling crowd which included both serving and retired police officers from Venice as well as the chief and deputy chief of neighboring North Port.

“This trip started in 1990 when I was snook fishing from the pier; I was catching snook and having fun, ”said Mattmuller. “But I was at a point in my life when I was going through difficult times.

“I looked up and prayed to God, I said ‘God, this is where I want to raise my family, this is where I want to work.'”

He quickly added: “The only problem was I didn’t have a wife, I didn’t have a girlfriend, I didn’t have a job.”

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A look back at the career of Venice police chief Tom Mattmuller

By this time, Mattmuller was living off the money he had saved by working as an insurance investigator and submitting to police academy.

A graduate of St. Leo College, Mattmuller, now 54, was working as a correctional officer for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in 1991 when he was hired by the then Venice Police Chief. , Richard O’Shaughnessy.

He met his wife Denise when he opened the door to the Venice police station for her, while she was there to visit her father, who worked in the archives office.

He got his phone number from his father, they got married and started a family.

Over the years between police work, church, softball training and supporting his daughters in volleyball, he has become a fixture in the community.

“Denise not only raised a police chief, but she also raised two daughters,” said Mattmuller. “We’re a doctor, we’re about to be a doctor. “

One daughter, Holly, is a doctor of physiotherapy in Greenville, South Carolina, while the other, Lauren, is a dental student at Midwestern University in Chicago.

“She’s an absolutely amazing woman,” said Mattmuller. “I am so lucky to have him in my life.”

Early in his career, Mattmuller worked from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. as a patrol officer and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. as a full-time substitute teacher at Venice Secondary School.

Mattmuller was promoted to detective in 2001 and was called up to reserve duty in the Coast Guard shortly after 9/11 to serve as a guard in the Port of Tampa.

Several of Mattmuller’s most notable cases as a detective involved sex crimes, a topic he didn’t want to come up with.

He spoke of an exploitation of the elderly case, which recovered nearly $ 90,000 in 2003, which led to the arrest of an insurance agent who duped a Venice of 91 years by having him write a check for $ 89,000 from an account with a Balance of $ 91,000 for a fraudulent investment.

He worked under five police chiefs, including his immediate predecessor, Tom McNulty, who retired after 28 years in 2015.

As Chief, Mattmuller is very proud to have established a pay scale that ended departmental attrition, to maintain accreditation through the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement – the department is on the way to ” achieve Excelsior status – and open a new public safety complex on East Venice Avenue.

Venice Police Chief Tom Mattmuller, who was accompanied by his wife Denise, laughs and applauds with approval as Venice Police Captain Charles Thorpe presents his friend and mentor with a plaque that says the job of Chief of police is as easy as riding a bicycle,

He is also proud of the department’s proactive outreach, which includes everything from a Shop with a Cop and Blue Santa program to hosting a Special Olympics fishing tournament, active participation in Venice Challenger Baseball, and an athletic program. proactive registration for elderly residents.

“It speaks to everyone you see behind you, the members of the police force who are no longer with us and who are now enjoying their retirement,” Mattmuller said Tuesday.

He later joked, “I have to make some adjustments: I’m going to slow down, go down on the coffee a bit; it is time for me to turn the page.

Venice Police Captain Charles Thorpe, who will succeed Mattmuller as chief on January 1, said his friend and mentor was “just the right person for this community, this community of Venice.”

When Mattmuller first decided to become a police officer, he thought of a bigger agency.

“But I knew I didn’t want to be at an agency where I was just a number,” he said. “I like being in an agency where you know everyone’s first name.

“I never wanted to be a police chief,” he said. “This is where my career has taken me.

Earle Kimel primarily covers southern Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and can be contacted at [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.

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