In honor of National Police Week, the Abington Township Police Department recently paid homage to Officer Thomas Mathews, who died in the line of duty on June 29, 1949.
From the Department’s “Officer Thomas Mathews Remembered” bulletin:
The officers climbed the fence and followed a trail of broken branches and trampled underbrush leading up an embankment. There they made the kind of discovery that every police officer dreads – the lifeless body of Officer Tom Mathews, partially hidden under a bush on an estate property belonging to Mr. Paul Gipson. The officer lay on his back, hat nearby on the ground. Officer Mathews’ handcuffs were still clutched in his right hand, and his revolver still snapped in its holster. Investigators at the scene determined that the policeman had chased the suspect a little more than one hundred paces before being felled. At 3:00 A.M. Doctor Randall Clark of Abington Memorial Hospital arrived and officially pronounced the officer dead.
What happened to Officer Tom Mathews in those darkened woods?
The Department marked the 50th anniversary of his passing with a ceremony in 1999. On May 10th, 2003, a plaque honoring Officer Mathews was unveiled during the dedication of the Police and Fire Memorial. The Memorial is located at the Abington Township complex.
He is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Montgomery County Pennsylvania.
For the full memorial written by Lt. Dennis McCauley, you can click here.
Photos courtesy of Abington Township Police Department