Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sergeant George Daniel Sullivan

University of Nevada Reno Police Department, Nevada

End of Watch Tuesday, January 13, 1998

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Sergeant George Daniel Sullivan

26 1/2 years later:

My life changed forever on January 13, 1998. It was a cold January night, and George had gone to work for the graveyard shift, which was 11 pm to 7 am. He had been assigned that shift by Chief K. S. of the University of Nevada Police Department as a punishment for standing up for his guys. George was a senior officer and Sergeant at the department, having 18 years of employment there. He always stood up for the guys when the administration made policies that went against the Police Union’s fair labor standards. George was heavily involved in the union to prevent these things from occurring.

A knock on the door woke me from my slumber sometime after 2am, and our two-year-old cocker spaniel was barking incessantly, while our 4 children, ages 3 – 15, were sleeping upstairs. With a very foggy head, and telling the dog repeatedly to be quiet, I answered the door. Standing before me, were two men: one I recognized, and the other I did not. The one I recognized was Chief K. S., and we both knew I did not like him. He was a drunk, gruff, unfair to my husband, and overall, a horrible chief. He had assigned George to the “supervisor cover shift”, which meant that George worked two graveyard shifts, then two swing shifts, followed by one day shift. All without a day off. And now he was on straight graveyard.

When K and M Sjoen came to town, they were looking for a home. My dream home up the street had been on the sales market. It was a ranch-style home on the corner of a dead end street, so hardly any traffic. It had a lovely yard with peonies growing along the walk way in the back, and a very nice layout. George and I had eyed it for ourselves, but in the end, decided we would not make the move, and so I told George that he might mention that one to K. We didn’t know them well, just that they needed a home. They did indeed buy this favorite house of mine, and we all walked over on moving day to greet them with a platter of cookies, and lend a hand if needed. The children were young, and it was too much for K. He yelled at them for being on the sofa. Mistake #1. Don’t mess with my kids. Mistake #2. Don’t miss with my husband at work. And mistake #3. And don’t mess with my family, by taking their Dad away at all crazy hours when he was senior man at the department.

Back to January 13. Both men were wearing civilian clothes, and in the fog of sleep, I couldn’t understand why they were there. Chief S asked if they could come in. I later found out that the second man was a Police Chaplain, trained to do what they were doing that early morning, inform a family of the passing of their officer at work. But K wanted in on the action, and told the man that he was welcome to come, but that he would do the notification.

As they entered my home, K directed me to a couch, where he told me that George had been killed at work. I was stunned, not quite awake and not really able to process his words. I asked if they had taken him to the hospital, and could I go. George would want his organs donated. Chief S told me he had not been transported. Again, I did not understand. The Chief put his arm around me and told me, “You have to get over this”. No more ridiculous words had ever been uttered. I got off the couch, away from this man whom I intensely disliked, and walked to the dining room table to open a large envelope that I had picked up the day before. One month prior, on Meghan’s 15th birthday, we had family pictures taken. The envelope contained those pictures. I looked at them and showed them to both men.

“How could he be gone?” I asked. “ I just picked up these pictures yesterday.” I finally began to cry. George had left for work at about 10:30 pm, just a few hours ago. I remembered him coming out of the closet all dressed for work, hearing the leather on his duty belt, each piece rubbing against the other, and keys clanging into one another. He always held them so they wouldn’t make too much noise, but I heard them anyway. I had just been drifting off to sleep at the time. George had been tired from working the graveyard shift because he could never really get adequate sleep before returning to work for his next shift. One word from me and he would have called in sick. I didn’t do it. And now he was dead. I didn’t find out how he died until the morning, when Steve Sauter, George’s friend from the University Police Department, came over to share in our grief.

I called my friends down the street at the urging of the Chaplain, as they were they closest. Jim and Jan Haggarty. Then I called my sister, too, from east Reno, and she came over too. The house seemed to get fuller and fuller as dawn approached. One of the earliest arrivals was Pastor John Ackers from Sparks Christian Fellowship, a church we had begun attending only 6 months previously. As the sun began to peek over the horizon, I asked Pastor John, “How do I tell my children?” They were all still asleep upstairs. John suggested we do it together, and helped me with my words. Meghan was awakened first, and I brought her into Brian’s room. They learned of their Dad’s passing together, and we all went down to the family room where they could be supported by friends and family. Then Pastor John and I went into the youngest boys’ room to wake Scott and Kyle, ages 6 and 3. The pastor and l explained that Daddy would not be coming home, as Jesus had taken him to Heaven.

The Chief and the Chaplain had long since left, having given us the horrible news, and they had been replaced by our Pastor and our family and friends. In the coming days, friends came by to feed us, bring flowers, and share tears. There was one common theme: George was the kindest man on the planet, and no one could believe he had been senselessly murdered. Friends picked up the children at various times and took them away from the ache of their home, showing them a little laughter and companionship with friends. We planned a memorial service, which I thought could be at our previous church, as they had offered it to me. We had left St. John’s Presbyterian Church just a few months earlier, looking for a more local church where we would be in the same community as the schools the children attended.

As Steve, Jim, Pastor John and I gathered in the quiet of the den, we discussed the memorial plans. They said I didn’t understand how many people would be coming to George’s service and that we would have to have it at Lawlor Events Center on the University campus. Though George had missed only one local line-of-death memorial service since I had known him, I just didn’t realize what one really looked like. I was about to find out.

George had died on a Tuesday morning, just after midnight. On Friday of that same week, limousines arrived in front of my house to transport all of the immediate family and friends who would be attending George’s service. As the procession made its way to the Events Center, led by and followed by several police cars and motors with lights flashing, people lined the streets and pulled over, saluting the procession and waving American flags. George was loved in this community. He was born and raised here, and had attended Reno High School and graduated in 1972. He knew so many of these people.

The police motorcycles stopped traffic all along the way for us to pass….not just on the streets, but on the freeway too. They blocked the on-ramps so that cars could not enter while the procession passed. While on the freeway, I turned around to look back, and the freeway was empty except for our procession. It looked like a sea of red and blue flashing lights, as far as they eye could see, as police cars from our local area and beyond were escorting our procession to the memorial service for a final good-bye and salute. Before arriving at Lawlor Events Center, the procession stopped at Walton’s Funeral Home and picked up a hearse with a coffin in it that I had picked out with Steve, though George’s remains were not in it. He was to be cremated, so this was just ceremony so the Honor Guard could do the folding of the American flag, giving it to our family. It was a cold and cloudy day on January 16, 1998. The wind was blowing, and a few snowflakes blew through the sky. But when the service which was attended by 3,000 people was over, the clouds parted and the sun peeked out, leaving swaths of blue sky. I think God did that for us, symbolizing that better days were coming. The Raven helicopter did a flyover, causing us all to look up and observe the beauty of the sky and the hope it brought. Many of us went to the Eldorado Casino in downtown Reno afterwards. As a kindness, this local family and business owner had offered to host a wake for anyone who wanted to attend. That was all a fog for me, though I do remember I never had a chance to eat anything, as I was busy speaking to hundreds of well-wishers, also engulfed in grief. We then returned to our house on Firtree Lane, which would never be the same again, one occupant short.

Brian would turn 11 years old three days after the memorial service. When that hit me, I realized I had to have a celebration for him, one that would remind him of what his life was going to be like in the future. So on Sunday, January 18th, I started calling his friends’ parents, inviting their children to a roller skating party at Wild Island the next day. Brian’s birthday often coincided with a national holiday in memory of Martin Luther King. This year, his birthday was actually on the holiday. It gave me an opportunity to create a new normal for us all, with smiles, laughter, and friends. Dad flew home to Orange County a couple days after that, having attended benefits meetings with me, and helping me understand my new financial situation. Mom stayed for another week, helping me to get back on my feet and into a pattern that made sense to me. I cried when she left as I contemplated the adult aloneness I was facing, and the overwhelming task of raising four children without their Dad. I didn’t know how to live my life now, my best friend gone from my side. George had been the voice of reason in our home when I had crazy ideas. He had comforted me when things were challenging at work, and I did the same with him. If I was working and he was home that day, I came home to a clean house, the laundry done, and a man in an apron helping with dinner. We were partners, friends, and lovers.

The children went back to school the week after the memorial service, and I would be off work for almost 3 months before I felt ready to resume the schedule of a single, working mom. To be honest, the whole idea of it was daunting. I cried in the quiet of my bedroom every night, mourning the change in our family, and praying for the strength of God to carry me through, realizing I was now the leader of the family.
Everyone had gone back to living their lives, and I was picking up the pieces of our fractured world. In the early afternoon, instead of leaving our mail in the box by the curb, the mailman would knock on my door and hand me a large stack of mail that could NEVER have fitted in our box. I would open each card, and read the sentiment from someone who had known George, watched him grow up, or even a community member that neither of us had ever known. Some had checks in them, hoping to help make a financial difference in our lives. I remember receiving a note from an elderly woman in a retirement home nearby, with a $1000 check enclosed. She had lost her father in the line of duty as a young girl, and she wanted to make a difference in the lives of mine. I went to see her a few months later and she wasn’t there. But each card bore the grief of someone who had suffered loss, deep affection for a beloved officer, or a heartfelt message meant to encourage. I was incredulous as these deliveries continued for a couple of weeks.

One day, a week or two later, with Meghan, Brian and Scott back in school, Kyle and I were at home as was our new normal. He was only 3 years old, and though he realized his world had changed, I was still his constant. After lunch, we read a book upstairs in his room, I put him down for a nap, and turned on the baby monitor. I came downstairs to write thank you notes for the many kindnesses that had been shown our family in the previous weeks. I had a local printer make up some lovely note cards for me, so the job wasn’t as overwhelming as it might have been. I was still my mother’s child, and she had taught me well. Thank you notes were not optional. As I sat at the kitchen table, tears streamed down my face while I added a sentence or two to the cards that would be sent to those we knew. I heard the baby monitor tell me that Kyle was beginning to stir. These were days where I was beginning to find my way, but was failing miserably from an emotional perspective. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep. But I could do my chores, because I didn’t have to think. The house was orderly, but we were all still a mess.

I began to make my way to the staircase to get Kyle out of his bed, but I collapsed on the first riser. I had no strength to climb those stairs. I was spent. There was nothing left. I was lonely, sad, grieving for the life to which I could never return, and afraid of the one before me. There I sat, head on the stair, weeping, and calling out to God, the only One who could understand my grief.

“I can’t do this! How could you ask me to do this?” And I heard THE VOICE reply, “I’ll give you strength for the next five minutes.”

The radio was not on, nor was the TV. It had been stone silent while I sat working on the thank you notes. There was no one in our house besides Kyle and me. The voice was not in my head. It was in the room! I lifted my head off the stair, looking for the source of those encouraging words. I knew immediately I would not see the owner. Without question, God had sent the Holy Spirit to speak to me, as He had sent the Holy Spirit to speak to Joseph and the angel speak to Mary. This was a pivotal moment for me. God knew I needed a word from Him, so to speak. He knew I needed to hear from Him so that I could begin my recovery, and help my children in their recovery too. He knew I needed to trust Him, depend on Him, and feel His presence. He spoke to me that day in a way not too many people experience. Since that day, I have told my story to a few who might believe me. I heard the voice of God. And as I sit here today, twenty-six years later, I realize that He has been faithful all along. In those early days, and then again as the children were experiencing their growing pains in life, there was only one set of footprints in the sand, as Jesus, my Savior carried me, giving me strength for the next five minutes.

Still your wife

May 28, 2024

Sgt. Sullivan,
On today, the 25th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Nevada. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

January 13, 2023

George and family
It is hard to believe that it has been 23 years. I'll never forget that day. I had just arrived at the national academy (Quantico). I couldn't believe the news. You and I had a lot of college classes together and sometimes met on night shift when I was in patrol with the S.O. I often tried to recruit you for the S.O. but you would laugh--since you loved working for the university. Anyway, I always appreciated your kindness and friendship through the years and those who knew you will never forget. Most of us have moved on to other things but time does not diminish our memory of you. You'd be proud of your family. They are all great people.

Jim Lopey, Asst. Sheriff (ret)
Washoe County Sheriff (Reno, Nv) & NVDPS

January 13, 2021

I told your story again today. It doesn't get any easier. The day you were murdered was the day I decided to retire at the earliest possible date. We went to Reno High School together. I was one of the first on scene and stayed with you for the hours that followed. I'm so sorry this happened to you and your family. I can't type this without crying. I figured it was about time to post something here. Thanks to everyone who remembers.

Police Sergeant, Retired
Reno P.D.

November 12, 2020

Sgt. Sullivan,
On today, the 22nd anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of of the state of Nevada. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

January 13, 2020

Hi George. Like everyone, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since we lost you. I have thought of you often during my career. I returned back to Nevada after retiring Last December. A few days ago, I went to the campus to visit your memorial. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.

As I have said before, I thank God for the opportunity He gave to me in knowing you, being your friend, and cherish the memories buddy.

Chief Ranger Brian M. Martin, Retired
United States Department of the Interior

April 19, 2018

George I was just thinking of you and how much of an influence you had on me. I thought about some cases we worked and meals we shared. I miss our telephone conversations. I miss knowing you were out there. I’m heartbroken for your family. I miss you old friend. You are so missed brother. We will catch up one of these days.


April 19, 2018

Hey Sully!
I cannot believe it has been 20 years. I went to campus this January for a service honoring you, and Alan told me about this site. I remain in contact with a few people at UNR PD, since I volunteer to help at the annual golf tournament Todd and Debbie put together in your honor. There, I have been blessed to meet your family also. Carolyn and the kids - and GRANDkids -
are wonderful, and I am so happy I have that opportunity to know them, help, and talk.
As with ALL who knew you - even those who didn't - that day changed our campus and our city.
Working in the Cashier's office on campus, we got to know all of the LEO's on campus because this was way before armored car pick-up. (I started in 1980). An officer would drive us to the bank with our daily deposit. So, yes, there were times that you worked DAYS! That morning when a friend called and woke me up, and told me to turn on my tv....... they showed your picture and my heart stopped. A blur of "campus closed", "suspect not in custody", " gun and keys missing", "should we open campus tomorrow?", trying to work, in fear of "where is that POS and the gun and keys! Keys that open our office!". Then the tears. Co-workers, including officers. Vigilante spirit through campus and citywide. Disbelief. I went to your service at Lawlor Events Center. It was standing room only. One of the things that I witnessed that day that stuck with me - there were many - I told my friend "you know, it is rough to see a man cry, but, a man in uniform crying will rip your heart out". So many uniforms in that building. Bagpipes will never be the same to me. That day changed me in a very deep way. As it did to so many others. It is part of who I am now.
Now for a fun memory - I remember the times that Andy and I would be working late ( during registrations), and it would be dark during the winter semesters. We faced away from the outside windows. You and Alan would drive your patrol car up to our bldg/office windows, and use your darn PA radio and scare the CRAP out of us! OR , you would flash your lights, or use your beacon. FUN stuff!!! I apologize in advance to anyone this might offend, but, I do remember getting to a point where I would not turn around - I would just flip you off!! (I can hear you laughing right now!!!)
One of us would eventually go open the window, and hear you two laughing. Then we would trade barbs or just say Hi, then back to work. Yes, I have very fond memories of you, and Alan, and your smiles and laughter. That is why I can smile when I remember you! Which is often. Too often these days with the news - why this website is here. Grateful it is though.
So, Sully - It hurts us all that you were taken WAY too soon. I still avoid that part of campus. The memories, bad and good will never leave me. But, Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for being the great person that you were. Thank you for being a great LEO. You are missed and remembered, and always will be. Just like your smile, and the devilish sparkle in your eyes!

Kim Thomson

March 17, 2018


It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed. Every time I drive by UNR I think of you.
I remember your mischievous smile and the twinkle in your eye and your zest for life.

Awhile back your daughter was my son's speech therapist. I had to hold back tears when I met her the first time. She reminded me so much of you - her smile, her kindness and her joy. Thank you and Carolyn for such wonderful children.

An old friend

March 12, 2018

20 years have passed. I’m greatful that I shared a small part of your life here on earth. I read all the posts that have been left. They help us all with your passing. Most of all your wife’s post you would be so proud of her. My the lord always bless her and your family. You touched our hearts.


January 19, 2018

George, I think of you all the time. I still remember the horrid sense of loss that morning when my wife and I both got called into work because of your death. One of the worst days of my life, and nothing will ever erase that day from my mind. I know how much you disliked working graveyard shift, even though I really liked it. I remember being excited when you came to graveyard, because I really enjoyed our meetings up behind Lawlor. Our talks were fun, and I loved hearing about all the things happening with your wife and kids. In fact, as I recall we never talked about anything other than our families. Probably why I enjoyed visiting with you so much.

This week, I attended the C.O.P.S. Evening In Blue. Carolyn was there, and I got to say hello and give her a quick hug. I see her all the time at church, and I know how busy she is these days. She worked SO hard to help make this Evening In Blue a success, and she brought a whole bunch of photos of you that we all got to see on the big screen. Buddy, I sat there at my table and cried. I still miss you, even after all these years.

After your passing, I noticed a permanent sadness in myself that just didn't go away. I loved my job, but it wasn't as fun anymore. I had to work the south side of town, because I couldn't stand to be anywhere near the University. I still avoid driving in that area unless I have to. I finally got transferred to Detectives and finished my career there, retiring early in 2002.

I'm sorry it took me so long to post here. I've known about this site for many years, but I just couldn't bring myself to sit and write. The Evening In Blue event changed that, and brought me a little peace about your death. It still hurts, always will, but hearing the words spoken by Sheriff David Clark at the event gave me a sense of purpose again. Sheriff Clark very eloquently explained why he does what he does reference police homicides, and it gave me hope that something can and will be done to help reduce future police murders.

I hope your time with Jesus has been amazing. I know some day soon I'll be there too, and I can't wait to see you again!! I can't wait to hear all the cool things your kids have been doing while you've watched over them. I've also just become a grandfather for the first time, hopefully I'll have some stories to share with you too.

Det. Sgt. Loren Ross (Ret.)
Reno NV PD

November 16, 2016

Many thanks for your service in our police department. My prayers be with your family. I hope that they can heal from this terrible tragedy.

John Haseltine - Civilian

March 26, 2016

Being a family friend to George, Carolyn and their children, I continue to feel a true sense of loss. He was a great husband, father and friend. A great family lost a very special man for no understandable reason. You are an amazing strong family!

Michelle Phillips

January 14, 2016

And now it's 18 years. Being nosy, I tend to read a lot of posts by other people. Those of us who visit regularly have essentially watched your family and friends grow and still grieve. No, I guess time DOESN'T heal all wounds. For some, they take a deep breath and the pain is lessened, but for some, that dull ache never really goes away and even flares up now and then.

My heart goes out to all who lost you and all are in my prayers. God Bless them and God Bless you, Brother.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Dept.

January 13, 2016

And so here I am again remembering how much I miss you. Our first grandchild is now 3 months old and you would have loved holding him close. But I will do it in your honor. Your cherished son, now also a police officer, will marry the love of his life this summer. I will stand in your place, though your shoes can never be filled. I carry on your love of woodworking, just a little, and smile when I remember that it was you who taught me. I will miss you as long as I'm this side of heaven. Looking forward to a reunion some day....

Your loving wife

January 8, 2016

As a UNR graduate and now a cop myself, I think of you often and how truly dangerous this profession is, regardless of what beat you work. Be thou at peace.

SGT. R. Moberly
Mammoth Lakes PD

April 25, 2015

There isn't a year that goes by that I don't remember this terrible event. I never knew George, but this day is burned in my memory. I can't imagine how it threw his family into a different path other than planned. Hope all is well with you. His life is remembered.


January 14, 2015

Today, 17 years ago you were taken from us. I will never forget that day sarge. Remember saying goodnight to you while leaving swing shift the night before and never seeing you again. Going back in at 0300 and having to notify our other officers. Miss hearing the "Sullivan Sunday's" because you'd call in sick so you could spend that extra time with your cherished family. They were everything to you and you were to them. You're not forgotten and greatly missed.

police officer (ret)
University of Nevada, Reno Police Dept.

January 13, 2015

Miss you old friend. We all miss you. God Bless you

Retired Cop Burcina
PPD/UNR Friend

October 29, 2014

Hey George. I miss you brother.


August 20, 2014

Hey buddy...Just dropping in, George, we all miss you and think of you every day. Every Sunday, I say a prayer.


March 25, 2014

Thinking of you today pal. We all are. We know this day and honestly Im so pissed off. Heartbroken. You, your family, your friends- we were all ripped off. I would walk backwards naked in a snow storm to be standing outside that prison when that punk gets his injection. Miss you Sarge

retired cop

January 13, 2014

Hey buddy. I think of you often. I pray for you and your family every Sunday in mass, I never miss an opportunity to say HI and to say I love you. I think of the times we spent, the stories my dad tells, the advice you gave me. My parents are doing fine...Dad still talks about you quite a bit. My kids are 11 and 8, soon to be 19 and 30. I tell them about you and your family. I sure do miss you. I know I will see you one day soon. Thanks for everything.


June 5, 2013


I have laid down my life in service to all of you.
I have been a part of the fabric that has held the line between your safety and your victimization. I have given my life so that others may live in peace. I have lived my life as a dedicated member of the greatest profession. There is no greater honor.

As I now become a part of the rich history of law enforcement, please remember me always for I have left behind those who loved and depended upon me.
My partners and my agency, please remember my family, their loss, and don’t let time soften your compassion for them.

You guard the gate now and I will continue my watch from above.


Doug Gist, Captain (ret) Washoe S.O.
Silver State National Peace Officers Museum

January 13, 2013

This morning I awoke to start a new day
Last night while I slept you were taken away
A note had been left by the bedside to read
"Didn't you know this poor fellow", I did indeed

It was not a great battle that had taken your light
Standing guard at your post all alone in the night
An assassin upon you so suddenly had sprung
Not a word could be uttered, nor alarm bell rung

A citizen filled with hatred and evil so low
Had taken your life with his cowardy blow
This man was captured some distance away
To prison they took him with his life he will pay

Tonight all alone with those we love most
Another will come to take up your post
The loss of his comrade still fresh in his mind
If he lets down his guard it is he they might find

His convictions are steel, his devotion a fire
Through the long lonely night his eyes will not tire
The pay is not worth this mission he'll take
But he could pay with his life for a single mistake

After suffering your loss I can't understand
How these brave men can still reach out their hand

Time goes by quickly, as so many things do
I wish dear friend I could have been there for you
I'd give you a gift as you've for me
Or make you a light that all men could see

Your name be remembered through all the land
As the man that served any that needed his hand


January 9, 2013

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