No matter what type of call it was, when Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder showed up to the scene, he always tried to lend a hand -- even if the subject of the call only had paws.
Fellow Officer Bryan VanLew says he remembers working with Tuder one day and hearing from their sergeant that a stray dog had been spotted in a drainage ditch. When the pair arrived, they found the animal alone, emaciated and in need of help.
“Sean went out of his way and went down the road to the Dollar General and bought a box of dog food, then he climbed down a slippery slope to give the dog some food while waiting for animal control to arrive,” VanLew, who described himself as one of Tuder’s best friends, told Fox News.
Tuder was in his third year serving with Alabama's Mobile Police Department when his life came to a sudden end on Jan. 20. According to Chief Lawrence Battiste, Tuder "was doing some follow-up work on an investigation and was gunned down” by a 19-year-old at a motel.
Tuder’s wife, Krissy, told Fox News she hopes the legacy Sean leaves is one that inspires others to take up positions in public service, whatever their role may be.
“I just hope that people can take this sense of pride in community that he had, because not only was he kind to people, but it was a duty for him,” she said. “I think that is lost on a lot of people, especially young kids these days… it’s so important to serve your community or country in some way or in some fashion.”
And when Tuder served with the Mobile Police Department, he “was the one you wanted there with you,” VanLew says, and he “loved going out there and doing the chasing.”
“He was one of those guys that, if there was someone who was wanted on robbery charges, he was going to be the first one to go out and actively look for him – and nine times out of ten he was going to get him,” VanLew said. “He liked getting the guns, getting the drugs… he wasn’t really out there looking for people with traffic warrants – he was out looking for bad guys."
Tuder was hailed for that kind of work in August 2017, when he was honored with the department’s officer of the month award “for his numerous drug arrests, with four cases being sent for federal prosecution, and recovering six firearms.”
When the 30-year-old had his uniform on, he also “was the inspirational ‘pump all the guys up’ on the squad” type of officer, Krissy said.
Outside of his job, Tuder liked fishing, played guitar and had a love for heavy metal music.
Prior to his career in law enforcement, he spent two years serving as an infantryman in the Alabama National Guard. It was his dream to deploy, Krissy Tuder says, yet he never got the chance.
But being a police officer, she says, was “definitely his calling.
“It’s the only thing he ever wanted to do, he just wanted to help people,” she added, noting that Tuder often worked long and unpredictable hours -- a part of the job that will sound familiar to other spouses of police officers.
“It’s not easy and it’s not a normal marriage or a normal relationship you are in… you don’t see them on holidays, you are alone a lot at night. You think they are coming home and they are not coming home,” Krissy said.
Since Tuder’s passing, a memorial fund has been set up for his family, and Krissy says strangers have been sending her cards offering words of encouragement.
“Any little thing anyone does to show support is amazing, it’s been really humbling to see,” she said. “Love helps me get through, you can quickly turn negative, [but] all of that makes me feel a little lighter.”