They sat in the Captain’s office at District 7 Police Station Monday, three old friends that all started on the force the same day — a picture of their graduating class from the police academy hung on the wall with the date February 6, 1974. There was some good-natured ribbing about the future, about getting old, about the past.
There’s 108 years of experience between the three men but its their experiences here in East Boston, a place they said that they’d always cherish.
Captain Robert Cunningham and Sergeant Jack O’Connell are set to retire this month while Sergeant Arthur McCarthy has already retired from the Boston Police force. And while the three men are getting use to the idea of retirement (and long days of pretending to golf as McCarthy joked), East Boston may never get use to their absence.
“It’s a weird feeling to have nothing to do,” said McCarthy while O’Connell said ‘It’s a big adjustment for all of us”.
But in the end they all agreed that 36 years serving in the high paced profession of law enforcement was just about the limit.
“I think it was time for all of us to say good-bye to the Boston Police,” said Cunningham.
While they all graduated from the police academy the same day, Cunningham, O’Connell and McCarthy’s careers on the Boston Police force all took different paths that spanned nearly four decades.
They served in Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, they moved through the ranks, were affected by the police layoffs of the early 1980s, served as patrol officers when East Boston’s station was closed for several years. While their lives crossed different paths many times over the years, they’d ultimately be together again to serve out their remaining years on the force at District 7.
“The people of East Boston are really the salt of the earth,” said Cunningham. “There’s really no other district with the level of support and respect from the community than here at District 7. The people here are some of the best people in all of Boston and it was a pleasure to serve as Captain here.”
As for plans for the future, McCarthy, who still teaches at Curry College but is planning to travel and see Europe. O’Connell said he’s planning on doing some private investigation work while Cunningham is yet to decide on his future but it may involve something that keeps him close to East Boston.