Police Officer John J. O'Brien

Police Officer John J. O'Brien

St. Paul Police Department, Minnesota

End of Watch Thursday, April 16, 1981

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John J. O'Brien

Police Officer John O'Brien was killed when a vehicle that was driving recklessly and fleeing other officers struck his patrol car, driving 50 mph at Forest and Geranium Avenues.

The impact caused Officer O'Brien's vehicle to roll over and strike a house. Officer O'Brien's partner was critically injured. Two teenagers in the other car were killed, and one was severely injured.

Officer O'Brien had been with the St. Paul Police Department for ten years. He was survived by his expectant wife and two children. He was also survived by two brothers who were also officers with the department.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicular assault
  • Weapon Automobile
  • Offender Killed in crash

juvenile, vehicle pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

View all 11 Reflections

Dude, as John was known, was a fellow classmate of our 1971 police academy. In those 16 weeks it was easy to see the potential he had to be a great officer. His ability to connect with people, either by his humor or his wisdom was exceptional. With all the skills and traits he possessed he was still humble. He never made someone feel less because of their lack of a particular ability. He brightened times of sheer boredom, encouraged when things seem too hard and led by example.
It's now 2024. He wouldn't know the police department today, it has changed so much. I'm not sure why he came into my thoughts so intensely today. However I see the anniversary of his death is approaching.
We are blessed by having known certain people. They add to our lives. Dude was one of them in my life.

Sgt. M. Warner (retired)

April 10, 2024

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