BPD Remembers: The men and women of the Boston Police Department remember the service and sacrifice of Patrolman Lawrence J. Nagle who died in the line of duty 105 years ago today. On Thursday, October 3, 1918, Patrolman Lawrence Nagle died after contracting Spanish Influenza while performing his duties five days earlier.
He had responded to numerous residential calls to help sick family members requesting police assistance. He became ill and was transported to City Hospital where he succumbed to complications of Spanish Influenza.
The first case of Spanish Influenza was reported in Boston on August 28, 1918, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths by the end of 1918. Boston Police Officers performed many tasks to help stop the spread of the flu while working an average of 73-98 hours weekly.
Patrolman Nagle served with the Boston Police Department for 9 years and was assigned to District 16. His name is located on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C, on Panel 50, West Line 34 . His name is also forever engraved on the Hero Wall at Boston Police Headquarters and the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial at the State House in Boston.
Effects of Spanish Flu on Law Enforcement
From 1918 to early 1919, the Spanish Flu pandemic infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed approximately 675,000 Americans. Many officers contracted this virus due to the requirements of their job.
The names of every officer who died in the line of duty from the Spanish Flu will likely never be known, but ODMP researchers continue to uncover new cases as part of our mission to never forget the fallen.