On April 4, 1968, in the hours following the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., enraged Hartford residents burned down a grocery store. Donald Healey, then in his second decade as a Hartford police officer, stayed on his motorcycle, blocking traffic, for eight hours that night, so the firetrucks could get safely to the burning buildings, says the Hartford Courant.
Healey, 72, who retires today after 50 years with the Hartford Police Department, is believed to be the longest-serving police officer in the nation. “It’s an historic moment,” said Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts. “He’s been here longer than I’ve been alive. He’s an example of what our officers should become. He was dedicated to providing a good service and stayed committed to doing something he had a passion for.”