Retired NYPD Detective with no family passed away at 92 Officers Claim their brother

NYPD Detective William Brown who retired from the N.Y.P.D. had survived his wife and had no children. When he passed away there was no one to bury him, no one to mourn, except for the packed church in a sea of blue.

Retired Detective William Brown, a Queens resident for over 60 years had served with the N.Y.P.D. for 25 years who had served his country and community all his life.

Not only did he serve the people of New York City he also served the United States in the Army in the New York National Guard  as a WW-II “Harlem Hellfighter” with the 369th Infantry, the first all-black regiment unit.

369th Infantry Parade in NYC after WW-II

Officers became reacquainted with Brown in February when a neighbor called concerning his welfare when they had not heard from him in several days. His heat had been cut off, temperatures were hovering just above zero and officers from the 113th precinct went to check on him.

Detective Tanya Duhaney and Detective Dorrin Ferguson tracked Brown down to a hospital where he had been admitted for hypothermia and had to be hospitalized for a week. They spoke to him and found that his wife had passed away, that he had no children and was virtually alone in the world. But they decided right then and there that he would never be alone again.

Detective Ferguson, from left, William Brown and Detective Tanya Duhaney at Brown’s home in St. Albans, Queens. (NYPD)

The two detectives arranged for proper heating in his residence, visited him regularly and even took him to doctor’s appointments.

On May 20, 2016 Retired Detective William Brown passed away from a heart attack at the age of 92. The medical Examiner said that no one claimed his body so they were required to send his body to Hart Island, the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world.

There would be no ceremony, no grave marker and he would be buried as if he had no one who ever cared for him.

Not On My Watch

The 113th Precinct stepped in and claimed the retired Detective and gave him a proper send off.

The N.Y.P.D. made an advanced notice of the service on their Facebook page that read as follows:

Let’s give Mr. Brown the hero send-off he deserves.

Mr. William Brown, a retired NYPD Detective and World War II veteran, passed away last month at the age of 95.

If you have not heard of him, you are not alone. Mr. Brown died with no friends and family by his side and was discovered by his only close friends, the 113 Precinct officers who befriended him over the winter. When 113 community affairs officers heard of an elderly man suffering from hypothermia over the winter, they arranged for proper heating in his residence, cared for him, and even escorted him to doctor’s appointments.

Ultimately they were also the ones who arranged for his services and funeral. Mr. Brown passed away alone, but he doesn’t have to make his final journey alone.

We ask the community in the Queens area to please join us if they can for the wake and services:
Thursday, June 16th 2016
Wake: 9-10 am
Service: 10-11 am

First Church of God In Christ
187-10 Baisley Boulevard
Jamaica, Queens NY 11434


The church that Brown was received in held 400 people yet it was not enough to hold all of the Officers who arrived to pay their final respects to their brother. Many stood outside as his service was performed.

The following photographs were posted showing the ceremony of a hero that was sent off, he may not have had any family, but he did have his brothers and sisters who made sure he was not alone.


Detective William Brown
Detective William Brown ~ N.Y.P.D. May 20, 2016

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