Police Officer John P. Sullivan, Sr.

Police Officer John P. Sullivan, Sr.

Springfield Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Friday, February 2, 1940

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John P. Sullivan, Sr.

Officer John Sullivan and Officer Murphy were killed when they were struck by a train.

Officer Sullivan had served with the agency for 35 years.


  • Age 66
  • Tour 35 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Train accident

Most Recent Reflection

View all 8 Reflections

I am a 94 year old USAF veteran who was born and raised in Springfield. Today I was sharing with fellow residents here at the Good Samaritan Retirement home (Las Cruces NM), my recollection of Mr. Sullivan.
I was prompted to write an article about this man who was perhaps one of the most beloved policemen in our city.
Just on impulse, when I returned to my apartment, I typed in his name on the internet and found that he had ended his watch shortly after I graduated from Technical High School. I was saddened to learn how it happened.

My personal encounter with Mr. Sullivan (as all us boys called him), came shortly after I had got my first drivers license in 1937. It happened at the busy intersection at Maple and State streets where he was directing traffic.

I had picked up my Dad at Smith and Wesson on Union St, following traffic and had entered the intersection after Mr. Sullivan had raised his hand to stop. In a panic I attempted
to back up only to bang into the car behind me. Well, with a great flourish of his hands and arms, Mr. S. stopped traffic in all directions. Slowly walked over and asked, "Are you having some trouble sonny? I didn't know what to say.
There was my Dad sitting in the passenger seat, not saying a word, every one in the cars around us seemed to be snickering. Needles to say I felt miserable. Mr. Sullivan came to my rescue. He didn't lecture, or scold me, and as I remember it, just simply said - "No need to be in a hurry son, just take it easy and you will do all right. Then he walked back to his post and, bowing in all directions, and to me last, and with another flourish, bid me to continue on.
To add insult to injury, I fumbled with the clutch and made a herky jerky start. My Dad never said a word about it then or ever after. And I did become a better driver.

This is my tribute to the most beloved officer of that day!

CMSgt Leroy K, Murray USAF T=Ret.
Just a kid Mr. Sullivan helped grow up.

March 17, 2016

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