Swansea Police Lt. Robert M. Cabral
1952 - 2005

"Officer Bob"

 

At 12:42 AM on Saturday November 5, 2005 our community lost a great man. Bob Cabral was a loving father of two boys and a loving and caring brother to his brother and sisters. He was a true role model for both the children and adults of the community. He was admired and respected by all who came in contact with him.

Bob was an integral part of the lives of hundreds of children in the Swansea School System. He was the DARE officer in Swansea and as such he touched the lives of just about every child in town. In recent years, as the result of budget cuts due  to the town's financial difficulties, the DARE program did not receive any funding. That did not deter Officer Bob. After working his regular midnight to 8 shift, he volunteered his time to teach the DARE program to the 6th grade students at Joseph Case Junior High School.

Bob not only coached soccer for many years in SSYSL, but he was a member of the Board of Directors as the Director of Referees for the Spring Division. As such, he refereed hundreds of games over the years for our league and was not a typical referee - he was also a teacher of the game and a 3rd coach on the field. Bob was also the boys' coach at Case Junior High School for many years.  When his son went to High School last year, he again volunteered to become the Boys' JV Coach at Case.  Every player he ever coached knew that he loved them - and they loved him in return.  The boys team at the Junior High still wear the uniforms he purchased for the team a few years ago.

Besides soccer and DARE, he did so much more than we can ever capture in this short tribute. Bob also coached and refereed youth basketball in Swansea and managed and umpired for the Swansea Little League as well. In addition to his "on the field" activities, Bob also spent countless hours in meetings for these various sports leagues working behind the scenes to ensure that the kids had a positive experience in there chosen sport.

It has been said that Officer Bob knew the name of every kid in town. He was a fixture at all local sporting events, cheering on and offering words of encouragement to the kids that he had come to know over the years.

Officer Bob is truly and deeply missed by all of us affiliated with SSYSL.

 

The following is from an article in the Fall River Herald News that appeared on November 7, 2003

"Officer Bob," as he is known to the students of Case Junior High School, has been on a mission for the past 11 years to keep kids away from substances that can hurt them.

After working a regular midnight to 8 a.m. shift at the Swansea Police Department, Sgt. Robert M. Cabral then heads off to the junior high school for a full day of Drug Abuse Resistance Education teaching.

If that weren’t enough -- he does it for free.

"I believe in the DARE program and its mission," said Cabral. He said it was also his feeling that "having a police officer in the schools is a positive way of showing students what police officers can do to help them."

At one time, Cabral did not have to work a regular police shift during a DARE education session, which runs from January to April, but due to cutbacks in the last couple of years, funding for DARE was eliminated from the budget.

But, that won’t deter him. And, even if funding is not restored, he said he’ll still work something out so the program will continue.

"As long as we keep going, we’ll be all right," said Cabral.

Cabral was honored Thursday as a "Hometown Hero" by the Fall River Five Cents Savings Bank and WSAR AM. He was nominated by attorney Jane Sullivan of Swansea. Her children have been taught by Cabral.

"We’re extremely proud of what you do," Swansea Selectman Wayne W. Gray told Cabral at the ceremony.

Swansea Police Chief George Arruda said Cabral was a "dedicated, committed and caring police officer" to take the time to do what he does.

A native of Swansea, Cabral has been a police officer in that town for the last 27 years. He remembered his days at Case High School, now the junior high school, when he acted in a play on the very stage in which he was honored for his dedicated service Thursday.

"To do something you enjoy and get a reward for it is unexpected," said Cabral.

Cabral, a father of two sons, Alex, 10, and Mitchell 13 -- a Case Junior High School eighth-grader -- said being a DARE educator does not take time away from his family.

"That’s why I work the midnight to 8 shift," he said.

But, when does he sleep? Cabral just laughs at the question. "I try to get some sleep," he said.

In addition to his full-time job as a police officer and a part-time educator, Cabral also coaches the Case Junior High Soccer Team, and serves as a referee coordinator for Somerset/Swansea youth soccer. He’s also involved in Little League baseball and basketball, and is a member of the Swansea Lion’s Club.

Cabral said that the DARE curriculum teaches children self-esteem, how to make good decisions, and how to stay away from drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. It also teaches them there are consequences for their actions. And, a big emphasis is placed on violence, giving kids alternative ways to spend their time.

"A busy child doesn’t have time to get in trouble," said Cabral.

The "Hometown Hero" award was presented to Cabral before 700 students of the seventh-grade class. All of the children clapped and said: "Thank-you Officer Bob," at the end of the ceremony.

"My reward is their success in keeping away from the influences of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and violence," said Cabral.

 

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