Lauren Tripp will follow in the footsteps of her brother, sister and father on Friday when she takes the oath as a Buffalo police officer.
“My dad, brother and sister all have different personalities, but they all love this job and there has to be something to it,” said the 26-year-old daughter and sibling, who delayed completion of her nursing degree to follow in the family business of police work.
“I love nursing, but policing is another way to help people, and that’s what I want to do,” Tripp said.
With a father and three children as officers, the Tripps are currently tied with another police family, the Strobeles, who have four siblings on the force, for the most number of immediate family members wearing Buffalo police badges, police officials say.
Mark Tripp says he could not be prouder.
“I told them if they don’t like the job they are in or career they are pursuing, give this a whirl. I’ve been in it all these years, and I still enjoy going to work,” said the 54-year-old father, who started as a police officer in 1994, after a stint as a state prison corrections officer.
One by one, his three children completed the five-month Erie County Law Enforcement Training Academy’s basic police recruit course, after scoring high enough on the police officer Civil Service exam for an appointment to the department.
“It has been a crazy few years for the Tripp family. Three out of the last four police academies a Tripp has been in it,” the father said.
Courtney Tripp, 31, joined the police force in 2013 and is an officer in Northeast District. She previously was a social worker with the Eric County Department of Social Services.
Brian Tripp, 24, began in the Ferry-Fillmore District last year. Before that, he worked as a corrections deputy at the Erie County Holding Center in downtown Buffalo.
Three cousins of the Tripps also are police officers on the force: Central Booking Lt. Michael Long, Northeast District Police Officer Patrick Long and their sister, Sex Offense Squad Detective Judy Walker, who is married to Central District Lt. Michael Walker. In addition, two other cousins are Buffalo firefighters and two more are in the city’s Fire Training Academy preparing to become firefighters.
And there is the pizza connection.
As a young man, Mark Tripp worked at Carbone’s Pizza and Subs on the 500 block of South Park Ave. In time, all three of his children worked there as did the three Long siblings who became cops.
Capt. Patrick Mann, head of training for the police department, said several other officers at one time or another have worked at the pizzeria before joining Buffalo police.
“I was actually the very first worker Dominic Carbone hired. Mark Tripp, who I’ve known since kindergarten, was the second employee hired at Carbone’s,” Mann said. “Right now there’s like 15 police officers who are Carbone alumni. Every time we hire a new employee, Dominic says ‘You’re taking another of my workers.’ Inspector Joseph Strano jokes that Carbone’s is like ‘a feeder system’ to the Buffalo Police Department.”
For the record, Kathleen Tripp, Mark’s wife and the mother of their children, is not a police officer and never worked at Carbone’s. She works as an accounts payable clerk for the county.
When the three siblings, who all live in different places in the Old First Ward and South Buffalo, join their parents for a meal, Mark Tripp says it is like a mini police convention.
“My wife can’t get a word in because we’re all talking about police work,” he said.
Of the dangers associated with police work, the father says he has faith that his children will be safe.
“All three are pretty level-headed and have had experience dealing with the public,” he said. “They’ve had a great field training officer.”
That would be Officer Obed Casillas, who is also scheduled to provide field training to Lauren Tripp.
“Obed is my No. 1 choice. He’s been on a long time and he is a very good cop,” the father said.
With the training academy just about over, Lauren Tripp said she has an even deeper appreciation for her father.
“My dad never really came home and discussed the dangers of the job. He didn’t want to scare his family. But from being in the academy, I do realize the danger and I have more respect for my dad,” Lauren Tripp said.
“It’s not just the dangers, he goes out there and helps people every day. That’s the big thing that is stressed. We are out there to protect and serve," she said.