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Fallen Officers

Officer Paul Mendelssohn

On Sunday March 8, 1903, Officer Paul Mendelssohn, age 26, was riding on the North Main Street trolley, Car #66, during the fifty-sixth day of a railway labor strike. At 9:50 p.m., the trolley car reached the end of its route in the Bucks Hill section of Waterbury and was in the process of turning around for the return trip into the downtown area.

Four masked men boarded the train and simultaneously opened fire, shooting Officer Mendelssohn in the head, neck chest, and arm. The trolley conductor fled the scene on foot as the men fired their handguns. Officer Mendelssohn fell backwards into a seat on the trolley and died within moments.

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Officer Daniel J. Lane

On August 7, 1913, at 8:00 p.m., Patrolman Daniel J. Lane was walking his beat when he observed that a street lamp located at the corner of Cooke and Grove Streets was not functioning. Patrolman Lane walked to a call box and notified the Desk Sergeant of the broken lamp.

By 10:33 p.m., no one from Connecticut Light and Power arrived to repair the lamp so Patrolman Lane climbed the lamppost and attempted to repair the light himself. The lamppost collapsed and the 2200-volt wire that ran inside the lamppost electrocuted Patrolman Lane. Patrolman Lane also received a fractured skull from the lamp post falling on top of him.

Patrolman Danield Lane was 34 years when he died. 

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Inspector John Donahue

On Monday, June 21 1920, at 5:30 a.m., a man named Arthur Brouix of Biddeford, Maine entered Waterbury Police Headquarters stating he wanted to file a larceny complaint. Brouix reported that his twenty-three year old wife Georgiana Rheaume had stolen $650.00 from him and was planning on leaving the city. Since no detectives were on duty at that time, the desk officer told Brouix to return at 7:30 a.m., and speak with the detectives about his complaint.

Promptly at 7:30 a.m. Brouix returned to Police Headquarters and was interviewed by Inspector John F. Donahue, a seventeen-year veteran of the Police Department. After taking Brouix' complaint, Inspector Donahue and some other inspectors located Rheaume at the Waterbury train station where she and another man, who Brouix claimed was her new boyfriend, were attempting to board a train to leave the city. Inspector Donahue and the other inspectors returned Rheaume and the man to Police Headquarters.

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Officer William J. Stokes

On Saturday 2, May 1925, Patrolman Walter J. Stokes responded to a call of a domestic at a third floor apartment of 827 Bank Street in the Brooklyn section of Waterbury. Upon entering the apartment, Patrolman Stokes was attacked by Ernest J. Bercier, the husband in the domestic dispute. Bercier attempted to gain control of Patrolman Stokes' revolver. During the struggle for the revolver, Patrolman Stokes managed to shoot Bercier in the hand, however Bercier won control of the revolver and shot Patrolman Stokes. Bercier then fled the scene but was apprehended by Patrolman Michael Carroll who was on his way to back up Patrolman Stokes.

Patrolman Stokes was transported to St. Mary's Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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Officer Matthew J. McNally

Shortly before midnight on November 19, 1930, Patrolman Matthew McNally and his partner Joseph Petit were working a two-man car and were assigned to investigate a two-car motor vehicle accident on East Main Street. While both officers stood in the roadway investigating the accident, a car being driven by Adrial L. Wolff struck Patrolman McNally almost completely serving McNally's left leg.

Patrolman McNally was transported to St. Mary's Hospital where at 3:20 a.m., he died of his injuries. The drive of the striking vehicle, Wolff, was arrested for DWI.

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Officer John E. Palmatier

On Sunday July 20 1941, Officer John Palmatier, age 60, was directing traffic at the intersection of West Main Street and Judd Street. At 9:30 p.m., a vehicle being driven by Wilby High School teacher Maurice Griffin, age 30, struck officer Palmatier, throwing the Officer twenty feet. Officer Palmatier was transported to Waterbury Hospital but died from his injuries within an hour.

Traffic had been heavy that night due to the fact that the American Legion was holding its national convention in Waterbury and there had been a fireworks display at Municipal Stadium that night. Officer Palmatier, who had the night off, was called-in to work traffic due to the convention.

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Officer Frank D. Romano

Officer Romano suffered a fatal heart attack while walking his beat in Fulton Park on Cooke Street. Officer Romano had served as a park patrolman at the park for one year and had previously patrolled Hamilton Park. He had a total of 27 years of law enforcement experience.

Officer Romano was survived by his wife.

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Officer Leonard Lamanna

On Saturday, November 18, 1961 shortly after 5:00 PM , a fire broke out at the Dora Drazen Dress Shop at 11 Leavenworth Street, located in the heart of downtown Waterbury. Patrolman Leonard LaManna, an eleven-year veteran, responded to the scene along with four other officers for traffic control. While directing traffic, Patrolman LaManna suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the street. He was rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury where he was declared dead.

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Officer Walter T Williams

At approximately 4:00 AM December 18, 1992 Patrolman Walter Williams, an eight-year veteran, was on patrol in a one-officer car in the north end of Waterbury. Williams stopped his marked patrol car, number 23, in the intersection of Orange and Ward Streets after observing two African-American males conducting what appeared to be a hand-to-hand narcotics transaction. Patrolman Williams exited his cruiser and detained the two men. Patrolman Williams began to conduct a pat-down of the men. One of the men later identified as Richard Reynolds purposely bumped his body into Williams in an attempt to determine if Patrolman Williams was wearing body armor. When Reynolds determined that Patrolman Williams was in fact wearing body armor, Reynolds produced a Bersa .380 caliber pistol and shot Patrolman Williams behind his right ear. The two men then fled the scene on foot leaving Patrolman Williams lying in the street. A passerby through the area found Patrolman Williams and used the radio in Patrolman Williams’ cruiser to call for help.

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Officer Bruce Hanley

On November 19, 1982 Officer Bruce Hanley was dispatched to a fight on Cherry Street in Waterbury. The complainant stated four youths were observed on Camp Terrace and one youth began to run away. Officer Hanley began a foot pursuit. Shortly thereafter, a call was received of an officer down. Units responded and located Officer Hanley face down with no vital signs. CPR was initiated and he was taken to the hospital. No physical injuries were observed. Officer Hanley lapsed into a coma and was comatose until his death on December 13, 1997.

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