Heroes Roll Call: Patrolman John J. Cleary, #987

The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to tell the stories of our Fallen Officers.

Patrolman John J. Cleary, #987,
EOW 1/4/1938

John Cleary was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department on September 1, 1919 and worked in the 2nd District.

On January 7, 1931, Officers John J. Cleary, and James Ryan were working a plain clothes detail investigating a robbery at 2211 Franklin Avenue in Cleveland. Following a lead, Cleary and Ryan tracked a suspect to a rooming house on West 25th.  After the landlady forced open the door, Ryan opened a bedroom closet door and a male hiding there shot him three times. The male ran to the hallway, shooting Cleary once and severing his spine. Ryan was able to pursue the suspect, shooting him twice.

Ryan chased the suspect out of the building before collapsing on the street. Responding officers followed a blood trail to apprehend the shooter. James Ryan died from his wounds.

John Cleary was taken to Lutheran Hospital where he was treated but remained in a wheelchair. He died of his wounds on January 4, 1938. He left a wife, Julia (Patton), and children, Anne, Mary, and Thomas.

Plain Dealer, 1/5/1938

Mary L. Cleary, John Cleary’s youngest daughter, was sworn in as a policewoman with the Cleveland Police Department at the age of twenty-one. She spent her entire career in police service. Anne M. (Cleary) McNamara’s daughter, Anne E. McNamara, is a policewoman in the First District.

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