On Saturday, March 21, former Police Chief, Bobby R. Taulbee was laid to rest at Barrett’s Chapel Cemetery in Frederica with hundreds in attendance to pay their respects to a man many of his colleagues say was a strong force in their lives. Chief Taulbee passed away on March 15, 2015 at the age of 72.
“I worked closely with Bobby from 1970 until he retired,” said former City Manager and Police Chief, Richard Carmean. “For 28 years, we spent more time together than we did with our families, even on weekends when we would work on cars or head out in the Delaware Bay to go fishing. A lot of my success was due to Bob Taulbee.” Mr. Carmean said that Chief Taulbee was much better at giving direction to his staff so that they did what was expected of them, something Mr. Carmean said he had difficulty doing at times.
Chief Taulbee was born in Jess, Kentucky, the son of the late Frank and Ruby Young Taulbee. He was married to his wife, Shirley, for 49 years and had two children, Tracy Taulbee Grose and Corporal David Taulbee, who also retired from the Milford Police Department. Chief Taulbee enjoyed spending time with his children, their spouses, Lawrence Grose, who is also in law enforcement and Carrie Taulbee as well as his grandchildren – Amanda and Larnie Grose, Savannah and Hunter Conaway and Jaxon Taulbee. He served as the Assistant Chief to Mr. Carmean, becoming Chief when Mr. Carmean accepted the position as City Manager. He served the department for 32 years before retiring in 2002. Current Police Chief, Keith Hudson, said he was privileged and honored to work with Chief Taulbee for 25 years.
“He was a quiet and humble man of integrity, committed to providing the best possible police services to our residents, business community, and visitors to this city,” Chief Hudson said. “He will be deeply missed by his family and all of us that had the pleasure of knowing him.”
Lieutenant Edward Huey, who not only knew Chief Taulbee through the police department but also through a friendship with his son, David. Lt. Huey said that when he came to the police department, Chief Taulbee was the Operations Lieutenant and, like Chief Hudson, said that the chief was a quiet, gentle man that was “as strong as an ox.”
“I had witnessed him working on a friend’s Ford Mustang and wheel out from under the car with a transmission sitting on his chest,” Lt. Huey remembered. “He simply set it aside like it was nothing and got up from the floor and introduced himself.” Lt. Huey said that after joining the department, he would see Chief Taulbee out in public supporting events of family members of the department.
Chief Taulbee coached Little League for many years and Lt. Huey said he often found him at the park watching games. Like Mr. Carmean, Lt. Huey said that Chief Taulbee was a strong leader which he discovered after serving under him as School Resource Officer, a Sergeant and a Sergeant in Accreditation.
“He surrounded himself with people he knew would have different opinions so that if he felt strongly about a decision, he could have them attempt to change his mind to ensure to himself that the final decision that he made was the best for the community,” Lt. Huey said. Chief Carmean agreed with Lt. Huey.
Mr. Carmean said that he always joked with Chief Taulbee that he was a “company man.” He said that when employees griped or complained about their salaries or their job duties, Chief Taulbee had little patience for such complaints.
“He would tell them ‘If you don’t like it, you need to find another job,’” Mr. Carmean said. “I can’t give him enough credit. We helped each other through a lot of hard times, such as deaths in the family or our kids driving us crazy as teenagers. His loss will be felt, not only by his family and friends, but in the community as well.”
Mr. Carmean said that Chief Taulbee was a very private person and did not want to be in the spotlight, but instead wanted credit for doing his job well. Lt. Huey remembered that Chief Taulbee was dedicated and serious when he needed to be, but had a sense of humor as well.
“If you got him laughing, his sheepish grin would light up a room,” Lt. Huey said. “He was responsible for creating written Standard Operating Procedures to ensure the department was operating in a professional, ethical and conscientious manner. Except for necessary changes relating to the use of technology, many of Chief Taulbee’s procedures are still in effect today. Bob Taulbee will be missed as a boss, colleague and friend.”