In April of 1958, Massachusetts State Trooper Richard "Dick" Clemens and 8-year-old Ed Locke posed for famed illustrator Norman Rockwell at the Howard Johnson's Restaurant on Pittsfield-Lennox Road in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. When completed, an illustration entitled "The Runaway" was published on the cover of the September 20, 1958 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. This illustration instantly became an icon that continues to be one of the most positive images of a police officer ever captured.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of "The Runaway's" debut on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, the Massachusetts State Police hosted a ceremony honoring Trooper Clemens and Ed Locke at State Police General Headquarters in Framingham on Friday, September 19, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. Massachusetts State Police Colonel Mark F. Delaney welcomed Trooper Clemens and Mr. Locke and explained that "The Runaway," more than any other painting, illustration or photograph, "exemplifies the values and traditions of the State Police." After Colonel Delaney's opening remarks, Undersecretary Kurt N. Schwartz of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security presented Governor's Citations to Trooper Clemens and Mr. Locke on behalf of Governor Deval L. Patrick. Following Undersecretary Schwartz, Senator James E. Timilty presented Senate and House of Representatives Citations to Trooper Clemens and Mr. Locke, congratulating them on the 50th Anniversary of their portrayal in "The Runaway" and wishing them good fortune and continued success in all their future endeavors. Next were presentations by President Rick Brown of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, President Dean Bennett
of the State Police Commissioned Officer's Association, and Dave Moran of the Former Massachusetts State Trooper's Association. Lastly, Laurie Norton Moffatt, the Director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge made a very special presentation to Colonel Delaney. The Norman Rockwell Museum donated two framed prints of "The Runaway" to the Massachusetts State Police, one of which was signed by both Trooper Clemens and Mr. Locke. While presenting the prints to Colonel Delaney, Ms. Moffatt stated that, "The Norman Rockwell Museum is so honored by the pride in which 'The Runaway' is held by the Massachusetts State Police and police officers around the world."
After the ceremony, the State Police hosted a luncheon for Trooper Clemens, Mr. Locke and their families. Following the luncheon, guests were able to pose with a replica diner made by Lieutenant Thomas McNulty to the exact specifications of the diner depicted in "The Runaway." Shown at left are Trooper Richard Clemens and Mr. Ed Locke sitting in the positions they made famous, with Colonel Delaney posing as the counterman. When asked why he believes "The Runaway" has endured for 50 years as the symbol of what being a police officer is all about, Trooper Clemens responded, "Certainly, I think it's a depiction of reality. Police work is far from what you see on TV. It's dealing with people in times of crisis and sometimes in humorous situations." Trooper Clemens and Mr. Locke also expressed how honored they were to be selected by Norman Rockwell to pose for the runaway. Reflecting on the experience, Mr. Locke said, "It's been part of my life for the last 50 years. Thanks to this picture, I have met some wonderful people over the years; it has truly been a joy."
In early 1958, Norman Rockwell approached Trooper Clemens, a neighbor of his in Stockbridge and asked him to pose in uniform for an illustration involving a police officer to appear on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. At the same time, Rockwell approached the parents of 8-year-old Ed Locke, another fellow Stockbridge resident, and asked them for permission to have Ed pose in the illustration with Trooper Clemens. Ed Locke was no stranger to Rockwell, having posed for him in the illustration "Before the Shot," which depicts a young boy in a doctor's office standing on a chair examining the doctor's medical credentials that hang on the wall, while dropping his pants and preparing to get a shot. After Trooper Clemens received permission from his supervisors, and Ed Locke's parents again granted Rockwell permission, Trooper Clemens and Ed Locke met for the first time during an hour long photo shoot in April of 1958 at the Howard Johnson's in Pittsfield. During this photo shoot the two were photographed in various poses and with Trooper Clemens wearing both his summer and winter uniform. In the final rendition of "The Runaway," the counter man and the background were altered by Rockwell from those in the original photographs. The counter man in the original photographs was Dick Barrett of West Stockbridge, but the counter man depicted in the final version is believed to be Don Johnson, an employee of Rockwell's. Rockwell later indicated to Trooper Clemens that he changed the counter man in order to enhance the age contrast between the counter man and the runaway. Rockwell also changed the background because Howard Johnson's was associated with thickly settled areas and Rockwell wanted to give the impression that the runaway had gotten farther out of town.
After "The Runaway" was published in The Saturday Evening Post, Captain Timothy Moran, Commander of State Police Public Relations, contacted Rockwell to thank him for using a Massachusetts State Trooper in "The Runaway", and invited him to dinner. Rockwell said that he would prefer if Trooper Clemens and Captain Moran came to his home to have dinner. While having dinner at Rockwell's home in Stockbridge,
Captain Moran asked if Rockwell would consider doing something just for the State Police. Rockwell said that he could not do anything at that time due to prior commitments, but that he would do a Christmas Card for the State Police when his schedule allowed. Trooper Clemens again posed for Rockwell wearing his State Police fur cap and waving with two fingers. The State Police used this illustration on its Christmas Cards for many years beginning in 1961.