No one in Tom Mann’s family had ever been a police officer, but there was enough commitment to service – to family, friends and community – that fueled his determination to become one of Lubbock’s finest.
“My dad was an educator, a superintendent of schools, who worked to bring communities together,” said Lubbock’s retired assistant chief of police. “And I think that gave me the idea that there is real value in serving your community.”
Recently, Tom was selected as a winner of Lubbock National Bank’s “Hometown Heroes” monthly drawing that awards prizes to eligible participants (including police, firefighters, military, hospital and emergency service personnel, and educators) who open accounts at LNB. The flood of congratulatory messages posted on LNB’s Facebook page (many of which used the phrase “hero”) reflect a huge show of appreciation for Tom and his 38 years of service.
Tom Mann grew up in Earth, 65 miles northwest of Lubbock, went to Springlake-Earth schools when his dad Bill was superintendent of schools and his mom Lillie was a teacher’s aide. It was during high school Tom became interested in police work.
“There’s not a lot of crime in a small town,” he said, “but I’ve always enjoyed helping people who are in trouble or hurting, and that’s what police officers do.”
While attending Lubbock Christian University, Tom worked as jailer in the dispatch room of the local police station, rode with officers while on duty, “and police work just got into my blood. I also liked the camaraderie among the officers, who really supported one another.”
At 21, he became eligible to join the Lubbock police force. His parents, he admits with a grin, “were a little scared about the idea of their son being a police officer, but it was something I felt I had to do. I’m the type of guy who wants to be out there helping others.”
Starting as a patrol officer, Tom spent three years in juvenile division, advancing to corporal, then sergeant. He worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration on a DEA-LPD task force in the Texas panhandle, which he called, “very satisfying work.”
Once that assignment was finished, he returned full time to Lubbock, advancing to lieutenant, and in 2001 was appointed assistant police chief. All of the work, he says, was enjoyable.
“Investigative work is great,” he said, “but even in administration, where there is a lot of paperwork, I liked doing budget preparation, helping the department start a mounted patrol unit, and helping establish a security team when the city built a reservoir. They were a lot of diverse experiences, which most of us in police work do, and I enjoyed them all.”
Tom retired in 2008, and for several years did mediation work involving minor crimes and divorce cases. Now he works part time as a home inspector, “which is a lot like police work in that you’re looking for clues when there is a problem, or trying to prevent one.”
Mainly, “I like to stay active.”
He raises horses, helps his father-in-law in Louisiana take care of property, camps, golfs (“I’m not very good, but it’s fun”) and, most of all, enjoys spending time with Stacy, his wife of 28 years, and daughters Emily and Amanda.
He is proud to be connected with Lubbock National Bank’s Hometown Heroes program.
“Those police officers who work the streets are dealing with the not-real-pleasant sides of people,” he said. “They see the worst in the community, but they keep the town safe, and most people don’t realize the danger they put themselves into. So it’s really wonderful that Lubbock National Bank supports the community through this program, and helps the community maintain a positive attitude toward law enforcement and all first responders.”