Relief flooded Frank’s face when he took that momentous phone call. We were preparing to eat dinner at my daughter Pam’s when the call came. Pam, her sister Kim, and I were in the other room. Pammie heard the words, “They caught him!” We all jumped up and down and screamed.
Frank’s phone burst into nonstop ringing. “I have to get home and put on a suit,” he said. I offered to drive him home while he fielded a deluge of calls and texts.
October 30th is trick or treat night for many Pennsylvania communities. Frank’s press secretary was walking door-to-door with her daughter. Governor Tom Corbett was passing out candy dressed as William Penn. They were whisked away from Harrisburg by helicopter to prepare for a press conference at the Blooming Grove barracks that night.
Peace of mind supplanted fear in the community where Frein had imposed his reign of terror. Passing out candy on Halloween night was now allowed–a forbidden activity if Frein had still been on the loose.
It’s amazing how tragedy can bring a community together and bring out the best in people. Community-inspired fundraisers for Corporal Dickson’s family and Trooper Douglass still abound, from hockey games to t-shirt sales to raffles. Restaurants throughout the area donated food that was served to area law enforcement personnel for seven weeks by the Red Cross and Southern Baptists.
After Frein’s capture, total strangers came up and thanked my husband. Halloween night a father ran up to the house when he recognized Frank passing out treats. He enthusiastically shook his hand. “Thank you! Thank you!”
The next day we ate lunch at a local restaurant with our daughters and three grandchildren. After asking if we wanted dessert, the waitress whispered in Frank’s ear, “Are you the State Police Commissioner?”
“Yes,” he responded.
“Well we would like to pay for your meals. And thank you for a great job.”
I was almost in tears. The restaurant paid for all seven of us.
Later, when we walked into the grocery store, four strangers came up to thank Frank. At the end of the day, the gratitude on his face spoke more than words. Innuendos, hearsay, and backyard quarterbacking all melted when the the hard work and professionalism of the state police and many other agencies paid off, dousing theories that Frein had outwitted them and fled the area.
I am proud of my husband, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the law enforcement agencies from all over the US who served bravely to protect us with no thought for their own safety, but who made sure a cold-blooded killer was brought safely to justice. I know I echo the sentiments of thousands of others across not only Pennsylvania, but the nation in saying THANK YOU!