Mayor McGlynn and Police Chief Sacco Dedicate Corner to Memory of Murdered Medford Police Officer Francis J. Gilleland
Mayor Michael J. McGlynn and Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco, Jr, dedicated the corner of North Street and Boston Avenue in memory of Patrolman Francis J. Gilleland, the only Medford Police Officer killed in the line of duty since the inception of the Medford Police Department in 1870.
Officer Gilleland, the youngest of 8 children, was a graduate of the Immaculate Conception School and a World War I veteran. He was married to the former Mildred Letson and they resided on Valley Place with their two daughters, Mildred Louise and Doris Marion. He was first appointed to the Medford Police Reserve Force in 1924 and later as a regular in 1926. In 1928, the Medford Police Department was made up of 82 men, with 1 Chief, 1 Captain, 5 Lieutenants, 5 Sergeants, 54 full time officers and 16 part time reserve officers.
On July 2, 1928, Officer Gilleland was on patrol when he caught a group of young men in the act of breaking and entering at Peckman’s Drug Store at 242 Boston Avenue at the corner of North Street. Patrolman Gilleland made the arrest and while escorting them out of the alley to Boston Avenue, it is believed that one of the men’s accomplices was waiting in the shadow of the building and shot Officer Gilleland at close range, killing him. His assassin was never found. Officer Gilleland’s name is listed on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Present at the dedication was Susan and Gary Blakeley, granddaughter of Patrolman Francis J. Gilleland, who unveiled the sign and helped to lay a memorial wreath at the site.
Mayor McGlynn, Chief Sacco, Members of the MA State Police Dedicate Corner in Memory of Metropolitan Police Officer John W. Powers
Mayor Michael J. McGlynn, Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco, Jr., and members of the Massachusetts State Police gathered at the corner of Park Street and Salem Street in memory of Metropolitan Police Officer John W. Powers, who was killed in the line of duty on August 16, 1912.
Officer Powers resided on Mystic Valley Parkway with his wife and 3 children and served the Metropolitan Police honorably for 15 years. Patrolman Powers was on patrol on his police motorcycle when he was struck by a speeding car owned and operated by Mr. William A. Blunt of Medford. According to eyewitnesses, the force of the impact threw Officer Powers against a pole, fracturing his skull and breaking his right leg. As reported to police, Mr. Blunt was going at a high rate of speed in an easterly direction, giving Officer Powers no chance to get out of the way. Patrolman Powers was taken to Malden Hospital, where he passed away from his injuries.
Present at Officer John W. Powers dedication ceremony was his grandson Al Powers, a 1940 graduate of Medford High School, who, along with his wife Ann, made the trip from their home in Wells, Maine. Al Powers helped to unveil the sign at Officer Powers dedication and laid a wreath in his memory.
Past and present members of the Medford High School Chorus, under the directorship of Mr. Andrew Wray, performed at ceremonies for Patrolman Powers. The vocal ensemble sang arrangements of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America”.
Pictured from left to right are:
Mr. Wray, Trent Sullivan, Sam Graves, Fatima Lemos, and Sarah Neal.