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Duty Calls

While the Yarmouth Police Department is still reeling from the death of K-9 officer Sean Gannon (second from left) in 2018, Chief Frank Frederickson says the community’s continued support is having a lasting impact on him and his team.
photo courtesy of the first responders

Few first responders have seen a wave of change like Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson has. Frederickson started as a summer officer in Yarmouth in 1977 and is now approaching his 40th year working full-time with the department. He got into law enforcement after watching his dad and other relatives as police officers. “I watched them all growing up and felt it. The one thing my father told me not to be was a police officer,” recalls Chief Frederickson. Like many, he did not follow parental advice—he could never fight that urge to join the thin blue line. Throughout the years, he’s seen significant change in how people treat the police and how police respond. When he talks about the perspectives on law enforcement from those who don’t wear the badge, his passion is palpable. “It’s a fast-changing environment, and you have to be on the top of your game. An event across the country can change what you do here in an instant. There’s a challenge to find good officers because the pool of candidates has dwindled in the last few years—not just here on the Cape but everywhere,” says Frederickson. “There’s been a lot of angst toward policing. Social media has highlighted the dangers we encounter and has pushed candidates and their families away from policing.” 

Those dangers were revealed in the most tragic and heartbreaking of ways in April of 2018, when one of Chief Frederickson’s officers was killed. Sean Gannon, 32, was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant at a home in Marstons Mills. Gannon, a police K-9 officer, was well known on Cape Cod, and the outpouring of support continues to come in. “I have seen the best in people, and it’s been so refreshing and overwhelming at times,” Frederickson says. “It has changed me. I constantly worry about the Gannon family and my officers. Their loss has been more.” Chief Fredrickson hopes that a newfound respect is born out of the tragedy so that citizens and lawmakers make sure that police officers are getting the support they need. “In spite of all the negatives and job stresses over the past 40 years, I still have a passion to come to work every single day because I love my job,” says Frederickson. “Cape Cod is such a supportive community, and I have seen Cape Cod pour out their hearts to us. We owe them the very best policing can give. I love being here and love being a police officer.”

photo courtesy of the first responders

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