They gave their lives upholding our tradition of Honor, Duty, Fidelity.
Badge: # 367
Site: Miller'sCreek, Warren Co.
Stationed: Troop "B" Washington
Service Time: 17 years 4 months
Resided: Washington Boro, Warren Co.
Cornelius A. O'Donnell was born in Bayonne, New Jersey on August 8, 1902, later moving to Washington, New Jersey. He attended Grammar School at St. Mary's Parochial School in Bayonne. Prior to enlisting in the New Jersey State Police he was employed as a carpenter for the City of Bayonne. He resided in Washington Boro, Warren County, New Jersey.
Sergeant O'Donnell enlisted with the New Jersey State Police on March 15, 1928 as a member of the 16th State Police Class. He was assigned to Troop "B" at Morristown Headquarters and later the Washington Station. His service with the Department was characterized by loyalty, fearless performance of duty and faithful and energetic devotion to the principles of the New Jersey State Police.
Sergeant O'Donnell's death was the result of gunshot wounds suffered while in the line of duty.
On July 16, 1945, Sergeant O'Donnell and Trooper Fred Perry were escorting, on foot, a prisoner across a railroad bridge from Pennsylvania back into New Jersey. He had fled to Pennsylvania after committing a murder in New Jersey. He agreed to return to New Jersey where the Troopers could then arrest him. Sergeant O'Donnell led the entourage, followed by the prisoner, with Trooper Perry bringing up the rear. As the approached the midpoint of the bridge, the prisoner ran to the railing, attempting to jump into the river. Sergeant O'Donnell turned and wrapped his arms around him and they wrestled briefly. The prisoner managed to pull the revolver from the sergeant's holster and fired two bullets into O'Donnell's stomach. He was taken to the Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg where he died a few hours later.
Sergeant O'Donnell served 17 years and 4 months with the New Jersey State Police.
Sergeant O'Donnell was survived by his wife. He was 42 years old.