Police & Fire

West Orange Police Department Honors Fallen Officer Edward Brennan

Janet Tichenor, granddaughter of Officer Brennan, said the family now hosts an annual Christmas party and donates the funds to various charities in his name. Credits: Susan Anderson

WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange officials honored the late Officer Edward Brennan, who 90 years ago became the first West Orange officer to die in the line of duty, in a ceremony on Thursday.

“The job of a police officer is a dangerous one even under the best of circumstances,” said West Orange Police Chief James Abbott. “Today is a remembrance that officers such as Brennan made big sacrifices to keep our community safe.”

Brennan died March 6, 1927, three days after the 10-year police veteran crashed his police motorcycle on Eagle Rock Avenue, sliding on an icy, slippery spot, his granddaughter Janet Tichenor, 77, said.

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The ceremony to mark the 90th year since his death in front of police headquarters on Thursday drew police, officials and family, including his granddaughter, Tichenor, who spoke for the family. 

“It was a wonderful tribute to my grandfather,” said Tichenor, a retired nursing supervisor for the township health department who was one of 10 family members on hand.

Brennan, who was 50 years old when he died, was survived by his wife and three children. Today, the family counts nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 20 great-great grandchildren and a great-great-great grandson named Brennan, she said.

“It was quite an honor. He was my grand uncle,” said local attorney and former township councilman, Joseph Brennan, who was instrumental in the move to name a street after the deceased police officer.

Brennan is one of two West Orange police officers to die in the line of duty in the department's 133-year history. The second officer, Patrolman Daniel Laird, died in an automobile accident while on duty Oct. 28, 1946.

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