The State College police who died on duty Monday had a special set of qualities that enhanced his ability to protect and serve.
Officer Bob Bradley knew how to talk to people when responding to calls and was compassionate when helping them, Police Chief Tom King said.
Sgt. Todd Scholton, who worked with Bradley for almost 20 years, said Bradley was personable with everyone, likable and patient.
“Bob was always the calming influence,” Scholton said. “He could speak softly with someone to help them with a call or situation.”
Bradley, 43, stopped by his home while on patrol Monday, was found unresponsive by a family member and died at Mount Nittany Medical Center at about 1:30 that afternoon. The coroner’s office ruled the cause of death as a stroke.
Bradley was a 19-year veteran of the department.
King said what impressed him most about Bradley was the way he interacted with the community. He could communicate with people of all ages and statures in the community and, King said, Bradley had a special interest in assisting those with mental illness.
He was assigned to additional security at the school district from time to time and was a member of the department’s crisis intervention team, which handles calls for people dealing with mental health issues. That role suited Bradley well because of his demeanor, Scholton said.
He also went above and beyond in the aftermath of events he responded to. King recalled a time that Bradley investigated a fatal car accident, then stayed in touch with the family and was there for them through the entire investigation.
“The community was blessed to have Bob as a police officer,” King said.
Bradley was known among his colleagues for his intelligence and quick wit. He played the occasional practical joke, Scholton said, and used his sense of humor to keep co-workers upbeat during morning briefings.
Bradley was a student of the law. He worked days, took classes at night and earned a law degree from Widener University in 2007, and, because of that knowledge, was a valuable source of information to other officers, Scholton said.
Bradley was also a teacher — off and on the job. He taught criminal justice and criminal procedures at Kaplan University and the University of Phoenix. At work, he trained new officers.
State College defense attorney Matt McClenahen said Bradley was one of his favorite police officers to work with. He was fair and reasonable with defendants and courteous with everyone, McClenahen said.
McClenahen said Bradley epitomized professionalism.
“He’s what a police officer should be,” he said.
District Judge Carmine Prestia reiterated the sentiments, describing Bradley as professional and fair.
“He was a good guy,” Prestia said. “He was a good husband, a good father and a good police officer.”
Bradley is survived by his wife, Jessica Poorman Bradley; children Maison, Karsyn and Robert “Brenden” Bradley; stepson Bruce Poorman; and his father, Robert Bradley Sr., and his wife, Maritza Bradley.