By John Murray
Fred Sullivan was the Chief of Police in Waterbury for 17 years, from 1968 to 1985, longer than any officer in city history. Sullivan died on January 22nd, and was buried today after a ceremonial send-off from members of the Waterbury Police Department at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church. Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary served five years in the police department under Chief Sullivan in the 1980s, and was promoted to detective by Sullivan. O’Leary eulogized Sullivan, and said the former chief was instrumental in creating community policing in Waterbury, helped establish PAL, and was the first Waterbury police officer to attend the FBI National Academy in Washington D.C..
While eulogizing Sullivan, Mayor O’Leary said you could set your watch to Sullivan’s movements. Sullivan drove down Cooke Street every morning, circled the Green and headed up East Main Street to police headquarters and arrived prompty at 9 am. At exactly noon he would head to the Elks for lunch, at 2 pm he entered the detective bureau where he spent precisely 20 minutes talking with the men, and at exactly 5 pm he would head down East Main Street, circle the Green, and head back up Cooke Street to his home.
“Any beat cop knew his schedule and made sure to be visible when Superintendent Sullivan drove by in his car,” O’Leary said. “And they would salute him. Fred Sullivan will be missed, but never forgotten.”
Former State Senator Bob Dorr said, “Fred was my next door neighbor for many years, and a resource for me when I served as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I often cut his lawn, and we raked leaves together from the giant white oak trees we shared. He was a great American.”
Sullivan is survived by his wife, Winifred, and his two children, Barry Sullivan and Denise Ainsworth. Sullivan was buried with full military honors at Calvary Cemetery.