Sergeant Harold J. Collins

Sergeant Harold J. Collins

Metropolitan Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Thursday, May 31, 2012

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Harold J. Collins

Sergeant Harold Collins contracted poliomyelitis while administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of a seven-year-old drowning victim on November 7th, 1955.

He responded to a call of the child being found face down and unresponsive in Lee Pool, in modern-day Lederman Park in Boston. He immediately began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and was able to revive the child.

During her hospital stay, the girl was determined to be a carrier of all three strains of the poliovirus. Sergeant Collins contracted the virus and suffered the effects of the disease over the years, and retired from active duty in 1979. Sergeant Collins was struck with the post-polio syndrome in 2004 and died of its effects on May 31st, 2012.

Sergeant Collins was a U.S. Navy WWII veteran and served with the Metropolitan Police Department for 29 years. He is survived by his wife, three children, sister, and four grandchildren.


  • Age 92
  • Tour 29 years, 3 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Monday, November 7, 1955

communicable disease, water rescue

Most Recent Reflection

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Sergeant Collins, it has been 12 years since you were taken from us. New England law enforcement has continued to thrive, learn and become safer due to the traditions and sacrifices you, your family, and many others have made for us. Thank you for your military and 29 years of law enforcement service.

Chief (Ret) Steven Marshall
Georges Mills, NH

May 31, 2024

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