May 8, 2015, the Wilmington Police Department unveiled a memorial wall honoring the ten members of the Wilmington Police Force who have been killed in the line of duty . A member of the current police academy, the 96th class, read the roll call of WPD’s fallen officers, as the individual plaques were uncovered.
The young recruit, who will soon be patrolling city streets, solemnly read each name. About half-way through the roll call he announced in a deep voice, Police Officer Francis X. Tierney, End of Watch, Saturday, March 6, 1915. Died from gunfire.
Patrolman Tierney, 31, was shot and killed as he and three other lawmen attempted to arrest two suspicious men who were attempting to pawn two watches. When the officers arrived the men fled and exchanged shots with the authorities. The patrolmen chased the suspects into a nearby stable where Patrolman Tierney was shot and killed and the other officers were wounded. The two suspets were taken into custody and the man who killed the patrolman was executed on May 14, 1915. Patrolman Tierney had served with the agency for only three months.
The recruit added that a relative of the patrolman, Mr. Francis J. Tierney, 94, was present for the ceremony. After the memorial was over I made my way to the front of the room and talked to Mr. Tierney. He had been named for the young city policeman and we talked about that.
I also inquired so to whether he knew Dr. Helen Tierney and he said, yes that was his sister. There were 11 children in his family. So I mentioned how much I had enjoyed working with the retired professor and scholar of women’s studies as she returned back home to Newark, DE and eventually started living in the family cottage along the Elk River. He said, you know I built that house on the River.
At least I had a chance to let him know that in local history circles Dr. Tierney’s work hasn’t been forgotten.