News your connection to The Boston Globe
Today's Globe  |   Latest News:   Local   Nation   World   |  NECN   Education   Obituaries   Special sections  

Harold Crowley, 77; Scituate police officer

Harold J. Crowley, a Scituate police officer for 30 years, died Nov. 18 at South Shore Hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 77.

"He was like Jack Webb's character on the show `Dragnet,' a serious and hard-working cop who did everything by the book. He even had a short crewcut," said Lieutenant John Rooney, a former co-worker.

Mr. Crowley's police career began in 1961, before computer databases and hand-held radios were prevalent. He built solid cases through hard work, said Rooney, who as police prosecutor still reviews Mr. Crowley's case records.

"His files and research remain among the most thorough and complete that I see," Rooney said.

But Mr. Crowley wasn't in the business only to arrest people. He had a tender side, too. "To protect and serve," said his daughter, Trudy Bull of East Falmouth. "That was why he loved being a cop."

"People would always come up to us in public and thank him for giving them a break," said his wife, Trudy (Driscoll). "Then he would say, now you've gotten a break, and if I catch you again, you've had it."

Mr. Crowley, nicknamed "Porky," was an only child who was born in the Neponset neighborhood of Dorchester. During World War II he joined the Navy, at 18, and served for two years. Then, he returned to Boston and served with a reserve unit for five years. He worked at a lumberyard briefly before hauling paper products for McGlone's Express for about 12 years. While driving for McGlone's, he received his GED and attended Northeastern University, where he studied criminology. After he graduated, he passed his police exams and accepted a position with the Scituate police.

He was 35 when he became a cop. "But he had always wanted to be a cop; that's just when he decided to do it," said his wife.

In his 30 years, he served the Scituate police force in several capacities, from detective to working construction details. But his favorite was the Scituate Harbor beat.

"He was an extremely social creature. He knew every store owner and employee on the harbor," said his daughter.

And, Rooney said, "they were all happy that he was the fellow on their beat."

He loved being near people and having fun with them. "He could get anybody's goat at the drop of a hat," said his daughter. "When he was in a patrol car he used to pull over people he knew and then go up to the car and ask them how their day was."

After his retirement in 1991, his life remained defined by his service on the force. "We still have a police scanner in the house," said his daughter.

"He would call from home just to see what was going on," said Rooney.

Along with his wife and daughter, Mr. Crowley leaves three other daughters, Fran of Whitman, Mary Anna Hanlon of Claremont, N.H., and Tricia Narris of North Quincy; six granchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

A funeral Mass was said Saturday at St. Mary's of the Nativity in Scituate. Burial was in Scituate's Cudworth Cemetery.

Globe Archives Sale Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months