CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WKRG) –Crestview is remembering an officer kiled in the line of duty 45 years ago Tuesday. On March 26th 1974 Investigator Buster “Buddy” Adams was off duty when he responded to a call of an armed man inside a bar. He and the man scuffeled and Adams was shot but not before returning fire and shooting his killer. Other officers arrived on the scene and also shot the suspect who died. Crestview PD posted the entire story on their Facebook page. The department says, “every day our officers put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of Crestview. Their heroism and the memory of those who have fallen will be honored at our brief 6:15 a.m. May 15 sunrise memorial service at the Whitehurst Municipal Building flagpole.”
Only one Crestview Police Department officer has ever been killed in the line of duty. For Chief Jamie Grant and his officers, the photo of Investigator Buster “Buddy” Adams that hangs in the Police Department lobby is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice that they are prepared to offer for the citizens of Okaloosa County’s seat.
A two-tour Vietnam War military police officer and Purple Heart recipient, Inv. Adams tried a stint as a grocer after leaving the military, but law enforcement was in his blood. He joined the Crestview Police Department as a patrol officer in May 1970.
“His calling was to be a policeman and to do his best to take care of everyone,” said Butch Reppert, a former fellow Crestview Police officer for whom Officer Adams was a mentor.
Even after advancing to investigator a couple years after joining CPD, Inv. Adams never stopped patrolling the streets of Crestview, journalist Isaac Sabetai reported in an April 2002 article in the Northwest Florida Daily News.
Buddy Adams would work a full day in Investigations, and then some, sometimes getting off work at 11 p.m. Then he and Officer Reppert would patrol together until the early morning hours, stopping at Crestview’s then only all-night store, a Tom Thumb that stood where the Knights of Columbus lodge in Twin Hills Park is now.
“He went way beyond what you should do to help people — both good and bad,” Officer Reppert said of his buddy during an interview with Mr. Sabetai. “His main goal was protecting people in town.”
When the pair were on patrol, Officer Reppert learned from his friend, who had a talent for diffusing a tense situation before it blew out of control, especially when it came to disorderly regulars at some of Crestview’s notoriously unruly bars of the era.
“He’d get it over before it mushrooms,” Officer Reppert said. “That’s where experience came in. He had a special way of talking to them to calm things down.”
On March 26, 1974, Officer Reppert was off duty and Inv. Adams was chatting with former Mayor George Whitehurst. A call came over the radio, reporting an armed patron causing trouble at the Old Quaker Lounge, today a Cash’s liquor store and bar near Northview Plaza shopping center. Buddy Adams responded immediately.
The Officer Down Memorial Page summarized what happened next:
“(Inv. Adams) had responded to the bar after receiving a report that a man was inside with a gun. When he asked the man to step outside to talk, a struggle ensued. Although mortally wounded, Investigator Adams was able to return fire and strike the suspect. Other responding officers also returned fire, fatally wounding the man.”
The killer was 49-year-old Forest Taylor. No one knew much about him or why he slew Inv. Adams, who was 28 years old at the time of his death.
“When you’ve got a dark bar and shooting starts, who can say what happened?” an incident investigator said.
“He was a real clean-cut officer,” Mayor Whitehurst told Mr. Sabetai. “He would’ve moved up the ranks in law enforcement. He had his whole life in front of him. We all hated to lose him. It was a sad time in the city.”
“That night the city lost one of the best ones it had,” Officer Reppert said.
On June 15, 2010, Buster Glenn Adams was posthumously promoted to police sergeant in recognition of his honorable sacrifice for the people of Crestview.
The city and its Police Department remember a brave, selfless hero who gave his life for his community 45 years ago today.