William Welch was appointed to the Framingham Police Department on March 23, 1908 and, as was the practice in those days, lived in the area of his assignment. Twelve hours a day, seven days a week with two weeks vacation was the rule. Officers had added duties such as lighting the gas lamps and other care taking chores.

On February 22, 1923 at about 11:00 p.m it began to rain. so Officer Welch, who was on his rounds, stopped home for a rain coat. kissed his daughter Agnes, who still lives in Framingham, goodnight and left to patrol the streets of Saxonville. .About 3:30 a.m, on February 23rd, while walking on patrol through McGrath Square, Officer Welch stopped a stranger, who was acting suspiciously. Apparently Welch was convinced the stranger was up to no good, so he brought him to the Roxbury House, where he could phone police headquarters.

While Officer Welch was dialing the police station, the suspect tried to escape. Officer Welch pursued the suspect through the complex. When he attempted to stop him, the suspect pulled a concealed weapon. Before Officer Welch could draw his own weapon, the assailant shot him at point blank range.

Residents of the Roxbury House heard the shots and rushed to see what happened. When they reached the scene, Officer Welch was found dead. The Framingham Police Department notified police in nearby communities and immediately began searching the area, but the serarch was in vain.

A suspect was arrested on April 27, 1923, but was found not guilty in a jury trial. A year later that suspect was sentenced to ten years in prison for shooting another man in Randolph. While incarcerated, he became ill and died. On his deathbead, it is said that he confessed to the murder of Officer William Welch.

Commentary on The William Welch Award
Officer Welch convinced himself that a person walking in Saxonville at 3:30 AM was acting suspiciously and was up to no good.  Officer Welch detained this person but failed to check him for weapons.  Basically, Welch made a strategic blunder in police procedures.  In Germany, they call this being a Dumkopfen. If you detain someone against their will and take him in, check for weapons.

While Welch was making a phone call, the stranger made a run for it and shot and killed the pursuing Welch.

Now the Framingham police department resides at 1 William Welch Way and has an award in Welch's name. In essence, the William Welch Award is a close runner up to the more famous Darwin Award.

Now, the Framingham police award it to those police officers who kill civilians who are alleged to be mentally ill and are out to kill. How they make these determinations does not seem to be well documented but can you think of a better way to demonize someone that was killed by the police.

It is totally and horribly inappropriate for a taxpayer paid police department to give out an award for killing a taxpayer, no matter how disturbed (s)he may be. The worst part is not issuing a public report on the matter.

The next stage in the evolution of bad taste will be to give out cash awards for these actions. Perhaps a new car.

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