On June 9, hundreds of past and present officers from the New York Police Department gathered to give a military veteran and former police detective an honorable burial in New York.
William Brown died last month at the age of 95. According to media reports, he had no remaining family or close friends, so officers from NYPD’s 113th Precinct organized a funeral for him.
The 113th Precinct first became aware of Brown last winter when a concerned neighbor told them she hadn’t seen him in days. The officers checked his apartment and discovered he had been hospitalized for hypothermia because his heater wasn’t working. They also found out that he was a World War II vet and a retired NYPD detective.
“His personal life wasn’t really in order,” said Deputy Inspector Frederick Grover, the commanding officer of the precinct. “They helped him with his benefits and got him properly registered with the VA. They helped him get to doctor’s appointments.”
Officers also arranged to get Brown’s heater repaired, and one detective began visiting him on Sundays. When she couldn’t reach him on May 17, another officer went to his apartment and found he had passed away. No one came forward to claim his body, and the precinct was notified he would be buried in a potter’s field.
However, Brown’s fellow cops wouldn’t allow that to happen.
“That’s when we said we’ll make sure that he’s treated right,” said Grover.
The 113th Precinct paid for Brown’s funeral. They even posted his story on social media to encourage others to attend his service. Several hundred officers from various precincts answered the call and helped march Brown to his final resting place in Queens.