Friends recall past manager Broddrick with great respect

mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.comAugust 21, 2013 

Former Los Banos police chief and city manager Loris Thomas Broddrick died at his home Sunday night.

Family members said he was sleeping in his favorite chair when he died. He was 83. Broddrick was born in 1929 in Sayre, Okla., and moved with his parents to Merced at the age of 12.

Friends said he was a strong role model, working 34 years in law enforcement and city government.

He worked at the Merced Police Department, reaching the rank of captain before resigning to become police chief in Los Banos.

A Los Banos Enterprise article in May 1966 said Broddrick held the distinction of serving simultaneously as chief of police in three separate cities over an eight-hour period. He was acting police chief in Merced, was offered and accepted a chief's post in Hollister, and by 5 p.m. on that same day he resigned those positions to become the chief in Los Banos.

"He was a damn good friend," said 74-year-old Gerald R. O'Brien. "I met him when I first came here in 1965."

O'Brien was a California Highway Patrol officer and met Broddrick while working on a case.

"We had a pistol contest and made a bet for breakfast," O'Brien said. "I shot a 296 out of a possible 300 and (Broddrick) had a 294. He was a very honest man."

Broddrick and O'Brien also worked together on the City Council while Broddrick served as the Los Banos city manager between 1973 and 1987.

"I got on City Council for 22 years, and he retired probably eight to 10 years before I got off the council. After that, we stayed in contact," he said.

When Broddrick retired in 1987, O'Brien presented him with an engraved 20-gauge shotgun.

O'Brien called Broddrick an outstanding city manager.

"What I appreciate more than anything about him was that he didn't get upset, and he didn't hold grudges. We bumped heads, but we never took it personal," he said.

Michael Amabile, former mayor and current owner of España's Southwest Bar and Grill said Broddrick was someone he admired.

"I knew him about my whole life, ever since he was involved with the city," Amabile said. "I met with him a couple of times after I became mayor and he gave me good advice on how to handle difficult situations."

Amabile served as mayor from 1994 to 2006. He said Broddrick was very involved with Los Banos city government after the San Luis Dam was built.

"He worked closely to try and get some growth in our city. He kept the city together and was instrumental in getting development started," Amabile said. "When I think of him, I think of him as a strong tall person that loved his community."

Accomplishments mentioned by his family included Broddrick working to establish the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella, as well as serving as chairman of the Law Enforcement Task Force of California, Region K, Criminal Justice Planning Board.

Another major accomplishment cited by his family was attending the 88th class of the FBI National Academy with 110 other police chiefs from around the world. He won the J. Edgar Hoover Award for excellence for the highest scholastic standing in his class. According to family members, it was the last time Hoover presented the award.

Broddrick was an ex-officio board member for the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce and belonged to many community organizations in Merced and Los Banos, including Los Banos Rotary Club, Toastmasters International of Merced and the Merced Breakfast Lions Club.

He has four children, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. In 2004, Broddrick moved to a home in Snelling next to the Merced River.

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