Chicago Constable’s Death from 1853 Finally Memorialized

Constable James Quinn served the Chicago Police Department for just nine months before being killed in the line of duty in 1853. He was serving an arrest warrant on a man in a notorious criminal hideout known as the Sands when he was severely beaten and attacked by a saloon owner who was attempting to help the suspect.

Constable Quinn suffered fractured ribs and a punctured lung; yet, he returned twice more, suffering severe beatings each time, to arrest the original suspect, along with the saloon owner. He died as a result of his injuries, just three days after his original visit, on December 5, 1853.

Constable Quinn’s death marked the Chicago Police Department’s first line-of-duty death, and recognition for it has long been elusive. Chicago Alderman Ed Burke was among those who championed recognizing Constable Quinn’s death for many years, and included him in a historical survey of Chicago officers killed in the line of duty that he published with Thomas O’Gorman in 2006 – End of Watch: Chicago Police Killed in the Line of Duty, 1853-2006.

Constable Quinn’s name was engraved in Panel 24-E, Line 26. His death is one of the 254 historical cases discovered through research that are being honored this year. There are now 474 Chicago Police officers honored on the Memorial, the second most of any law enforcement agency in U.S. history.

Read more about Constable James Quinn at the Officer Down Memorial Page.

See the full list of officers whose names are being engraved this year.