Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman John Vincent Gleason, Jr.

Plainfield Police Department, New Jersey

End of Watch Sunday, July 16, 1967

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Reflections for Patrolman John Vincent Gleason, Jr.

With all the riots currently, I remembered how Officer Gleason’s murder affected me growing up. I lived in neighboring town and remember my mom crying that he was killed. We prayed for him and his family. I never really got over it or how it happened even though we never
knew him. Still breaks my heart. Will always have respect for the Blue. May he RIP

Jan Sansone

June 1, 2020

My uncle grew up in Plainfield and was good friends with Mr Gleason.
He always told us what a nice man he was and how devastated he was when he was killed. Every July 16th, he always wanted to pay his respects to your Dad. I am so sorry for your loss and what you and your Mom went through. My uncle has passed away now but I
still keep your Dad in my prayers.

Carol Schiano

May 31, 2020

I don't know what brought me here to view the reflections but I am stunned that such nice caring people still take the time to write . Thank you Elizabeth for what you wrote 3/22/20. My mother passed away 4 years ago. Mom remarried and had another daughter. When a loved one dies like that you really never get over something like that and but learn to live with it and live your life like they would want you to. I appreciate all the reflections and am so grateful my father is still remembered

Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre

March 23, 2020

I grew up in Plainfield, graduated high school in 1962, and was far from there the night officer Gleason was killed and so many families, like mine, were terrorized. I was proud of my parents continuing to live in Plainfield until their deaths, but none of us four children still live there. I attended PHS class of 1962 50th class reunion and was happy that so many others, white and black, came from great distances to celebrate together.
But mostly this is for Elizabeth Gleason who wrote, perhaps elsewhere, about her mother never recovering from her husband's horrible death. Recently, someone whose husband was killed in the line of duty told me about this organization, C.O.P.S.
I see that I am not allowed to leave any links, but you can easily find it on line.
You might see if there is anything there that might help your mother or you. Regardless of what you do, I wish the best for you and want you to know that many will never forget this tragic happening.

Elizabeth W Knowlton

March 22, 2020

I am going through our family Mass cards and found yours, Officer. My Mother told me that my grandfather was a PD colleague of yours who held your card to keep your memory close. My sincere prayers to your family - I know it is years too late but your loved one was remembered as a great police officer and colleague, and still is. Rest In Peace.

Linda Miller
PD colleague descendant

February 23, 2020

Rest in peace Patrolman Gleason.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

July 15, 2019

My family moved out of Plainfield years ago. But my mother told me about what a kind man officer Gleason was, and he has never left my memory. Hopefully one day I can meet him in person in heaven to thank him for his service.


December 6, 2017

I was in 5th grade going into 6th grade at the time of the riots. I lived on Whittingham terrace in Plainfiled and the Gleason's lived on Randolph Road, next door to our friends The Gellers. I remembered when this happened and was so saddened. I remember the children and felt so sad for them. I also remember Mrs. Gleason being such a nice person.

Sharon Toll

September 2, 2017

My father was a police officer with the Plainfield P.D. during the riots. I was only 1. Im 50 years old now and a retired police officer from the City of Reading in PA. My father passed away a few years ago. My mother is in town this week and we were talking about the riots from 67'. She was telling me about the tragedy during the riots and how all of the officers from Plainfield were not permitted to leave to go home and were held for duty for about 4 days. My mom remembers the incident well and was reflecting on Officer Gleason. My mother said she only knew and heard good things about Officer Gleason. Its a little late, but my condolences to the wife and three children of the officer. Rest in peace my brother.

Officer Chris Cortazzo
Reading Police Dept

June 7, 2016

It will be 50 years next year dad, Your sacrifice is and won't be forgotten. So many people have told me many amazing stories over the years that I treasure till I die. You saved lives and am proud to be your daughter

Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre LPN

May 22, 2016

Thank you for your service Officer Gleason. Rest easy.

Captain Tommy Willis (Retired)
Hudson County Sheriff's Office, Jersey City, NJ

July 14, 2015

I was just eleven when the race riots of 1967 happened. I remember my folks talking about this terrible tragedy. What a pointless loss of life. Every time I hear about similar incidents in today's news, I remember John Gleason, hero.

Private citizen Duane Sohl

June 10, 2015

I was in Plainfield during the Riots, I was a Sgt in the Military Police unit of the 50th Div NJNG, we were in Newark and called into Plainfield right after Officer Gleason was killed, to go in and rescue the Fireman that were trapped on the second floor of the firehouse, they were protected by the "Diamond Plate on the second floor, since shots were being fired from the first floor into the ceiling they the fireman stayed on the plate.

When my squad arrived I was the first man up the stairs to brake down the door to get the men to safety.
We secured the building and took the men to a safe area.
I will always remember the name of Officer John Gleason, it's many years but now that I'm retired from Law Enforcement after 40 years .
John was a HERO and roll model for many Officers, Rest in Peace Brother.

Jim Lagrosa
Brother Officer

June 1, 2015

I joined the Plainfield Police March 21, 1961 and though I was an investigator with the Union County Prosecutor's Office during the riot, I was back in town when it happened. For almost 50 years the memories of those few days has never faded. John was a good man. He was tall, subdued and always a gentleman. I worked many all night shifts with him on the next beat when I was in uniform. His death, the first of an officer on duty in the city's history, was a shock to us all. He will never e forgotten!

David B Watts
Private Investigator/Former Plainfield PD

March 6, 2015

I was a reporter for the now-defunct Daily Journal of Elizabeth, NJ and covered the Plainfield riots. I wrote about John Gleason and the two other officers who later were ambushed while responding to a call. One died and the other survived. Those days were a nightmare, and they are starting all over again by those who support hatred and violence.

Thomas Michalski

January 8, 2015

With the news these past few weeks, I want to remember John Gleason, Jr. I lived in Plainfield, NJ until 1974. Officer Gleason's aunt and uncle lived across the street from my house. Remembering an officer killed in the line of duty. Peace in remembering one who laid down his life for his friends.

Marian Sinteff Carlino
a child from the 60's

December 4, 2014

Thank you Diane, You are so sweet...Believe me I have read probably everything...But if there are photos I have not seen that would be interesting

Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre

May 22, 2014



December 17, 2013

I just found this web site. My dad was a Plainfield Police Officer from 1955 to approximately 1972 (he worked with your dad). I remembered when this happened. Elizabeth - I am very sorry for your loss. I plan on visiting the memorial.

Our dad passed away in 2008. He had several old Plainfield PD photos - some were from 1951, he had an old poster for a police department ball from 1927, a picture from when they moved into the "new" police department. We didn't know what to do with these items.

I did an on line search (that's how I found this site). The Plainfield library has an extensive collection of local history - Courier News archives, police department log books (the used to hand write the logs - prior to having computers). You can call & make an appointment to read through them if you choose. You can even search for Courier News photos.

Our family donated the photos (in our dad's name) to the library - we did that today. It's a good feeling to keep a memory alive. It's nice to see that you are doing the same for your dad.

Best wishes to you & your family.

Diane Grare Caruso
Daughter of Louis Grare

Daughter of Detective Sgt. Louis Grare
Proud Daughter of a Plainfield Police Officer

September 3, 2013

Officer Gleason's death was the first time I saw my father cry.
It made a big impact on me. I guess that's why I'm crying now.

God bless all those who protect and serve.

Thank you for putting your life on the line every day to keep us safe.

Thankful citizen

August 25, 2012

I was just 13 years old when you were taken from us but I will never forget the sacrifice that you and your family made to keep us safe. Made you have peace for eternity. God bless you

David Treffinger

July 23, 2012

I have never left a reflection before but feel the need now. They are unveiling a memorial for you and other officers in Sept and in October. Time does not diminish your memory whatsoever. Just know not only your family thinks of you daily and as well as others we don't even know. I have people getting in contact with me even now that speak well of you! Love you always,

Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre

August 26, 2010

mr . gleason may you rest in peace in heaven. GOD BLESS YOU. I pray for your family, and God ptotect the Police Officers in our great country from these kind of people.thank you for your service.


July 18, 2010

Your heroism and service is honored today, the forty-third anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

July 16, 2010

My Dad worked thru the race riots as a fireman. He knew you and always spoke of the senseless cruel death you endured. To add insult to injury those responsible are out of prison. ALL KILLERS OF PUBLIC SERVANTS SHOULD BE GIVEN MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCES.

George Gano, Jr
Son of a Plainfield Fireman

April 7, 2010

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