Growing up, Frank Goulart only wanted to be a police officer. Now nearly 50 years later with moments that changed the law enforcement industry, he’s retiring.
“It’s just been a wonderful life,” Goulart said. “I mean, I’ve loved everything I’ve done.”
Working for the Mt. Shasta Police Department is just one of the many jobs he’s had over the years. It all started when he enlisted in the United States Army in the 60s. “Normally we would’ve gone to Vietnam but the North Koreans captured our spy ship, the USS Pueblo,” he said, “so they sent our battalion to Korea instead of Vietnam.”
After 15 months in Korea, he headed to Los Angeles, where he joined the Los Angeles Police Department. “I was placed on foot-beats in downtown Los Angeles walking Skid Row in East 5th Street from six at night ’til three in the morning.”
At the time LAPD uniforms didn’t have protective armor. A fellow officer was shot and killed when he stopped a car for speeding, not knowing the passengers had just committed an armed robbery.
“He walked up to the car, as soon as he got up to the car he was shot five times and killed,” Goulart said.
After the funeral, Goulart stopped by a uniform supply store and picked up one of the first versions of a bullet-proof vest. Nine months later, he found himself in the same scenario that cost his brother in blue his life.
“Got the driver’s information, went back, ran him over the radio, he came back with a couple of warrants. So I was gonna go back up and was gonna place him under arrest. “Soon as I got up to the side of the truck he already had a semi-automatic out, I can see his sunglasses in the mirror… he just turned and fired.”
Goulart was in the midst of a shoot-out and was hit in the chest. The bullet hit his name tag and then went into his vest, saving his life by just five-eighths of an inch. He was the first LAPD officer to be shot wearing a bulletproof vest. The incident ultimately led to the department purchasing vests for all its officers.
After a bad motorcycle crash, Goulart retired from the department and went to work for an insurance company doing fraud investigations. He then did stints as Security Supervisor at the Disneyland Hotel before going abroad.
He became Head of Security for the royal family of Brunei, where he traveled to Europe, Asia and South America. “They returned to their home country so I retired from that” Goulart said, “came up here to Mt. Shasta to retire.”
That was 1992, but by 2004 he was back in a uniform, joining MSPD as a reserve officer. He eventually moved to full-time. Now officially retiring 50 years later, he’s looking back on his career and the many jobs it’s made of.
“I’ve never had a job I didn’t like,” he said, “I always looked forward to going to work and especially in law enforcement.”
Goulart said his next chapter is moving back east to be closer to family, and he wants to teach them all how to scuba dive.
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