Saturday, April 11, 2015

R.I.P. Officer Moody: A Patch Editor Remembers

by Karen Wall
(Berkeley Patch)
It was just my second night at Wawa when I met Dave Moody for the first time.
The Berkeley Township police officer had stopped in for coffee and to chat with Nicole, the shift manager who was training me on the overnights.
“Moody!” she half-yelled, a smile spreading over her face. I quickly learned that she didn’t have much patience for most of the customers who came in at night, but Moody was different, and a night without a visit from him was a little empty. And pretty rare, limited only to the most busy nights in town.
Over the next three years — and two stints — I got to know Officer David Moody from his visits to the store. He always walked in with a smile and could be counted on for a sarcastic comment that was guaranteed to make us laugh, even on the most stressful nights.
When I heard Monday that he had died, my heart broke. I’m not related to him in any way, but ask anyone who works an overnight shift and they’ll tell you — there is a sense of family that comes from being part of that particular slice of the working world. You develop relationships with the folks who work the wee hours of the night — especially the police officers. You want to know them, need to know them, and there’s a sense of comfort that develops because you know if you really need to call them, they will be there for you. And you knew they were watching out for you.
I talked with most of the officers — they all knew I had spent most of my career in journalism. We always kept conversations to family because I wasn’t there looking for a scoop; I was there to do the Wawa job.
Officer Moody was no different. We talked about the entertaining side of raising daughters. He beamed as he showed photos and videos of his girls, spoke with pride about his wife. And he would ask how my daughter was doing with her sports pursuits.
And then we would have some laughs over customers who — for whatever reason — had given us material to laugh about. It was a quirky existence to be sure.
On the nights we didn’t see him or the others, we prayed. Prayed that they were safe. Prayed that they weren’t dealing with much beyond fools who were drunk but mostly harmless.
There was one night when we prayed twice as hard: Four officers, including Officer Moody, were chasing a suspect up and down Route 9. We watch them fly past the store, and I prayed for their safety.
As the situation unfolded,we followed the event via a police scanner app on my phone, looking for anything that would tell us what was going on.
And I remember praying. Not just because they were police officers putting their lives on the line, but because they were friends.
I remember hearing that the driver they had been chasing had rammed his truck into the officers’ vehicles, and that there were injuries. And I prayed even harder that the Moody and the others were going to be OK.
Because they were and are part of my community.
I remember my relief later when we learned no one had life-threatening injuries.
Moody loved to customer-watch with us, and on that overnight shift we got some doozies. Some of the experiences were so odd I immortalized them in a blog — and Moody made it into the blog on one bizarre TMI occasion involving a customer’s purchase of energy drinks. What Moody didn’t say in words, he could convey in facial expressions with a big grin and raised eyebrows — and if you’d spent much time talking with him, you had a good idea what those raised eyebrows meant.
Officer Moody made a lot of people laugh. And for those of us who had the pleasure to talk with him regularly on the overnight shift, the memory of his smile and his wit will endure.
His death — 36 is just not enough years on this earth — is a terrible loss, and my heart goes out to his family.
Rest in peace, Moody. You will be missed.