BPD Remembers: The men and women of the Boston Police Department remember the service and sacrifice Patrolman Frederick Gibney who died in the line of duty on this day 105 years ago. On Wednesday, October 30, 1918, Patrolman Gibney was assigned to transport prisoners to the city jail. Some of these prisoners had the influenza virus and were transported to the hospital. Patrolman Gibney died as a result of complications of the Spanish Influenza after contracting the flu two weeks earlier while performing his duties.
Patrolman Gibney served with the Boston Police Department for ten months and was assigned to District 17. He was 29 years old at the time of his death.
Patrolman Gibney’s name is located on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C., Panel 10, 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.
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.
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 researchers continue to uncover new cases as part of our mission to never forget the fallen.