NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD on Thursday buried one of its own – a man who left the force decades ago, but was still considered part of the family.
As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, Detective William Brown was a World War II veteran who retired from the NYPD in 1968 after 20 years. He died alone in his apartment in Queens.
But Brown was surrounded by a sea of blue for his final farewell at the First Church of God in Christ in St. Albans.
Officers and police officials at the funeral said Brown was still one of them.
Brown had no next of kin, but in recent months detectives from the 113th Precinct befriended him, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
It all started with a wellness check this past winter.
“Over the winter, we received a call from a concerned neighbor that she hadn’t seen Detective Brown in quite a few days,” said NYPD Deputy Inspector Frederick Grover.
Once learning Brown had no family, the precinct stepped in. They helped care for Brown in his last few months of life.
“They did weekly home visits at the very least; took him to doctor’s appointments,” Grover said. “They really formed a good bond.”
Detective Tanya Duhaney checked on Brown every Sunday.
“I said let me call — couldn’t reach him Sunday, couldn’t reach him Monday. On my birthday actually, May 17, I asked my partner to go visit him, and Detective Ferguson found him,” Duhaney said. “I cried, I definitely cried. It actually laid on my heart.”
Detective Doreen Ferguson described finding Brown’s body on his couch two weeks ago.
“He was alone, so we had a key in case we can’t get into the house and I found him,” Ferguson said. “It was a sad day.”
When no family or friends stepped up to make arrangements for the 95-year-old, the 113th Precinct organized a wake and funeral service.
And with no next of kin, Brown was set to be buried on Hart Island, the city’s potter’s filed. But his family from the 113th wouldn’t let that happen.
“I think it’s important that we’re all out here to celebrate his life and to make sure Detective Brown is treated well,” Grover said.
“We have to, as human beings,” Duhaney added. “We knew he did not have any children, he did not have a wife, he did not have friends that he was close with, so we had to do that.”
n the end, the man who served his country and community had more family than he ever dreamed.
“Once you’re NYPD we’ll never forget you,” Ferguson said. “I loved him and I’m really going to miss him.”
Brown will be buried at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.