His first name is Tony, although his Mother (God rest her soul) probably preferred Anthony.
Likely, you don’t know him from his picture either, but I’m pretty sure you know him by his work. He’s one of those guys all cops sort of know the same way they know the name of Alexander Graham Bell and Gaston Glock. I’ll share Tony’s last name a little bit later.
Tony was born in the United States just as the Great Depression took hold of our country and its people. Work was tough to find so his parents took Tony back to their country of origin: Croatia. They hoped they could better provide for their newborn baby in the ‘old’ country.
Tony stayed there until he was eighteen and fled because of the encroachment of the fighting from World War II. He told me of a story of a bomb falling next to his home in Croatia – but it didn’t explode. Day in and day out, they didn’t know if they would live or die.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
To Tony, those words aren’t just the title to a great song. No, to Tony, those are words he lives by and carries in his heart. Make no mistake, he loves this land. When he talks about America, if you look closely, you can see a tear in the corner of his eye.
Today’s insurrection and hatefulness toward the land he loves breaks his heart. It nearly makes him sick to his stomach.
When Tony talked with me, he said things like:
“Without law and order, the people having nothing. There is no freedom without the safety provided by law and order.”
“Young people today don’t know what life is like in other countries where people cannot gather. They cannot speak their minds freely without the fear of being arrested, taken away and never being heard from again.”
Talking as though America is a precious jewel, Tony pleaded that, “We must preserve America and care for it, less we lose it.”
Tony continued extolling his love for America:
“Millions and millions of people have taken great risks as they uprooted themselves and their families to come to America. People come here because of our freedom. Millions more want to come right now.”
He was especially clear on this point: We must do everything necessary to preserve America and all she stands for.
GOING WHERE HIS SON LED HIM
Tony has a son – John. According to Tony, John was always a big kid – never small. Thinking back to the time John was just a tyke, he always wanted to be a cop.
He played cops and robbers with his friends.
He took some of his clothes and created a replica of a policeman’s uniform to wear when they played. Around the age of eight, John asked Tony if he could install a light bar and siren on the family car.
John maintained his focus and by the age of fifteen, John was a cadet with the police department where they lived.
As John approached graduation, he made it clear to everyone around him that following was his heart into being a cop. That was how he planned to spend his life.
Tony was disappointed. Very disappointed.
TWO DREAMS COLLIDE
Folk lore is that every parent wants their children to follow their dreams.
Except this time.
John’s dream was to be a cop. Period. Nothing else.
Tony’s hope for John was totally different.
You see, in 1955, Tony started a machining business in El Monte, CA. The company name was based upon Tony’s family name which is Maglica. The fledgling metal machining business was incorporated in 1974 as: MAG Instrument.
Tony’s dream for John was that John would join him in the now, very successful family business. However, it was not to be – at least not for a very long while.
This business created VERY precise stuff.
The company manufactured millions of parts under various government contracts. A lot of it went to the military. That was a major customer that demanded high precision along with perfection in the materials they bought from Tony’s company.
The business was wildly successful. Why? Because Tony is a perfectionist, to put it in ‘cop-blunt’ terms. He has often said about his products, “If I wouldn’t buy it, I won’t sell it.”
Tony explained that his company achieved such success because of his commitment to the “Four D’s” in his business:
Most of us would do very well in our endeavors by applying the “Four D” strategy which was adopted by Tony.
FATHER & SON TOGETHER
Once he was through with his schooling, John was hired by the Ontario Police Department and went through the academy.
Tony was very interested in John’s experience as a cop. Learning the ropes was tough, but being on the job was tougher. John loved to share his cop experiences with Tony.
According to Tony, John loved his job as a cop. He couldn’t get enough. Tony recalls that John never complained. Never.
Tony said his biggest worry back in those days was the same as every cop’s family. When he said goodbye and left for work each day, they never knew if he would come home that night.
It is the same worry and concern felt by the members of every cop’s family. Every day.
Out of sheer interest as well as concern for his son’s wellbeing, Tony started helping out at the department. He wanted to be with his boy.
Tony saw – first hand – the kind of equipment and gear that the cops had to use. Frankly, some of it just wasn’t very good. At that moment, an idea was born:
“I could make a flashlight for these guys (the cops) that would be much more dependable than what they’ve got, now.” Why not? Tony already had one of the biggest machine shops in the country – and precision metal work was routine for him.
According to John, Tony worked on it for months. He gave John one test light after another.
Tony drove for perfection. After all, his son’s life may depend on that light.
In 1979 the MAGLite was born.
It changed the cops’ lives forever more.
By the 80’s, the MAGLite had become our standard. It had been adopted by cops all across the country as the ‘only’ light we would carry.
FROM MY PERSPECTIVE
I recall my first exposure up-close with cop work. I was doing a lot of one-on-one training with the first computers in patrol cars. And, I needed a light of my own.
I was told flat-out, “Get a MAGLite. It’s the only one that you can depend on.” Done.
It’s been the only light I’ve carried for the past 25+ years.
We all know why: It works well, and it always works.
I recall my first FTO who told me that the rechargeable MAGLite is the best choice for patrol. I wanted to know why. He said –
- A fully charged light will almost always last for the entire shift.
- If for some reason, it starts to run down prior to the end of the shift, you can recharge it in the car.
- The length of the light makes it easy to balance in your paw.
- It can be used in an urgent situation to take out a car window.
- It will save your knuckles when the asshole won’t answer the door.
- It’s as dependable as hell.
- It carries a spare light bulb in the end-cap of the light.
- Finally, although we try to avoid this, if you’re backed into a corner when you can’t (or shouldn’t) use deadly force, a good thumping with that light will leave a dirtbag seeing stars. You can’t do that with a light made out of plastic.
That was enough for me.
Bottom line: the light has multiple uses and a MAGLite NEVER quits.
Is there any down-side to MAGLite products? There’s one: To this day, Tony continues as an unrelenting perfectionist. He won’t offer any product to us cops unless it’s perfect. And, perfection doesn’t happen fast.
Today, there are MAGLites with LEDS and neat electronic controls for variable modes and other programmable features. You can check them out at: MAGLite.com.
I am happy to report that Tony’s son John has come aboard and is part of the management team that runs the company.
Unfortunately, getting John there nearly killed John.
After twenty years of service with OPD, John suffered a career-ending injury when the department chopper took a nosedive out of the sky with John aboard. Surprisingly, he recovered.
Since he couldn’t return to active duty with the department, he chose to do something that would save cop lives – join his Dad making MAGLites.
That isn’t the whole story.
Tony is married to the U.S.A. He is one of America’s most vocal supporters.
Years ago, many of the companies that were doing machining packed up and moved their factories to China and other foreign locations in order to save on labor costs.
Not Tony. MAG Instrument has stayed put – right here in the U.S. He is very proud of the fact that he has never wavered in his support for America and its people.
As for America’s current struggles, Tony is resolute:
- Without law enforcement there is no freedom.
- All of us must follow the rules.
- We must have rules in order to survive.
- People want to have jobs in order to raise and care for their families.
Every cop alive, whether active or retired, owes a debt of gratitude to Tony Maglica for giving us the MAGLite.
We have become accustomed to hearing about how one cop saved the life of another. Just think of the two Los Angeles Sheriff’s rookies who were shot in the head days ago where one saved the life of the other.
But, if you think of every time over the years that a MAGLite put light on a concealed weapon, or shone light on criminal activity it would be an overwhelming number of cops saved.
More important (to me) is the number of times it was the only weapon available for self-defense when one our brother’s life was being threatened. Consider the number of cops who made it home to kiss their kids or the number of funerals we haven’t attended because of MAGLite and it will choke you up.
Literally thousands of us owe our lives and our health to Tony Maglica and MAGLite.
May God bless you, Tony.
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
If you would like to send a message to Tony Maglica with your thoughts, you can do it here: – EMAIL
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MAGLite is a registered Trade Name of MAG Instrument, Inc.
To our BROTHERS and SISTERS in BLUE: We have now arrived at the time in the ELECTION SEASON when each of us MUST pay close attention to what candidates are saying. Every person we elect in November can affect our lives as cops. Will we THRIVE, just get by or will we DIE?
- Consider the disaster created in New York by Mayor Bill DiBlasio.
- Look at the number of cops who have been critically injured by the Portland District Attorney, Mike Schmidt.
- We cannot ignore how cops have been blamed for the problems in places like Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Baltimore and other cities where civilization has damned near crumbled.
- Don’t think that school boards are immune. Last Saturday, Steven Lysenko of Spencerport High School, went on a tirade against police officers for targeting protesters in Rochester by yelling, “Fuck the Police!”
- Last, but most important, is the top job: the Presidency. Electing Joe Biden would have a horribly deep, permanent and (in some cases) fatal effect on every cop in the nation.
EVERY ONE OF US MUST PAY ATTENTION AND GET INVOLVED.
OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT.
Thank you for supporting CopBlue.