Chief William J. Fitzpatrick

1888 - 1945
Albany Police Department
Headquarters
Gunshot Wound


On Friday 1-5-1945 at 3:00 PM, Detective John W. McElveney, the Chief's long-time friend and body guard, entered Chief Fitzpatrick's office where an argument ensued between the two men. At 3:10 PM, McElveney shot Chief Fitzpatrick once in the head, killing him instantly. The apparent motive was an ongoing dispute.

Chief Fitzpatrick was appointed to the Albany Police Department on 2-15-1925 and assigned to the 5th Precinct. He was soon appointed to plain clothes duty with the night squad and tasked with cleaning up the "Tenderloin District" (South End area of Albany NY) of street corner gangs, robberies, fights and violence. The successful completion of this task, via many arrests and courage in dealing with the underworld, resulted in his promotion on 9-1-1928 to Sergeant at the 5th Precinct. On 2-5-1932 he was promoted to Lieutenant, and on 2-1-1934 to Assistant Chief. On 4-19-1940 he was appointed Chief of Police, succeeding Chief David Smurl.

Chief Fitzpatrick was highly regarded by police departments throughout New York State. He liked kids and on cold days would let them play in the warm hallways at Headquarters. He rewarded good work from his officers, often with bonus compensation or vacation days off. His morning routine was to enjoy a breakfast of rolls and coffee, then spread crumbs on the windowsill for pigeons to eat.
Chief Fitzpatrick died at the age of 57. He was survived by his wife, Martha Schmidt Fitzpatrick; two sons, both in the Armed Forces, Sgt. William J., and Pvt. Donald J.; and two daughters, Mrs. Carlyle Lockhart and Miss Elizabeth Fitzpatrick. He was buried on Tuesday 1-9-1945 from Saint James Church on Delaware Avenue, Albany NY.

Detective McElveney was sentenced to 20 years to life and was released from prison 12-24-1957 after his sentence was commuted by Gov. Averill Harriman. McElveney died in July, 1968 at the Veteran's Administration Hospital, Albany NY, from cancer. He was 71 years old.