Happy Halloween from the National Law Enforcement Museum & the Sprinkle Brothers!

Who doesn’t like a good ghost story on Halloween? Thanks to the blog, Ghosts of DC (GoDC), we’ve discovered one that involves a couple of former Metropolitan (DC) Police officers—including J.L. Sprinkle, pictured below, with his brother, J.F.

Brothers J.L. and J.F. Sprinkle wearing their DC
Metropolitan Police Department uniforms, 1904.
Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, 2006.166.1

According to GoDC, it started on a dark and stormy night a few years ago with an officer on desk duty at the 1D-1 Substation in Washington, DC’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. While monitoring the closed-circuit TV camera, he noticed another officer on his screen. But he was sure he was alone in the building…

Well, local legend goes on to explain who the officer on the screen might have been. On March 5, 1909, Officer John W. Collier called in sick to work. He was known for laziness and tardiness, so his commanding officer, precinct commander Captain William H. Mathews, ordered that Collier show up to prove just how sick he was.

Collier walked into the Fifth Precinct station house (today’s 1D-1 Substation) and shot Captain Mathews (whose name is engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall). Mathews’s Deputy, J.L. Sprinkle, and two other officers, fought with Collier, but it was too late. Captain Mathews had been killed.

Did the deceased Captain Mathews somehow reappear at his old station? I guess we’ll never know for sure. Read GoDC’s whole account of these events.