September 23 2015

Burlington Police to Honor First Full-Time Chief With Special Ceremony


The following is a release of the Burlington Police Department. The photo is also courtesy of the department: 

Chief Michael Kent announces a ceremony will be held this month to honor the legacy of the Burlington Police Department's first full-time Police Chief, James Charles Piper Sr.

The ceremony will take place in the lobby of the Burlington Police Station on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m.

"I have personally enjoyed learning Chief Piper's story and the example he has set for the many chiefs who have come after him," Chief Kent said. "The Burlington Police Department is honored to follow in the footsteps of such a great man."

Born in 1899 in Somerville, Mass., Chief Piper Sr. was the first full-time Police Chief to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen in March of 1942 to the Burlington Police Department. At 12 years old, Chief Piper left school in the seventh grade to go to work and help support his seven younger brothers and sisters.

At 17 years old, Chief Piper joined the United States Army and fought in France during World War I. 

In 1920, he married his devoted life partner Marguerite Mullin, who he called Peg. They had four sons, James Jr., Richard, Robert, and David. In 1935, Chief Piper and his family moved to Burlington where all four of their sons graduated from high school.

Chief Piper felt a deep affinity for his chosen home of Burlington, and was proud to be appointed as the first full-time Chief of Police in 1942. He was so committed to his civic responsibility to the town and its citizens, that he operated the police department out of his own home on Francis Wyman Road. Peg worked as his unpaid secretary.

After serving four years as the Chief, he resigned in 1946 to start the town’s first heating fuel company, Piper Oil Company. He successfully ran the business for many years and then sold the oil company in the mid-1950s to his son, Robert Piper.

Chief Piper and Peg then started another successful business, the James C. Piper real estate company, located in the center of Burlington. Together they successfully ran the business until Chief Piper’s sudden death in 1958.

His friends and family remember Chief Piper as an adoring husband and a wonderful father who lead by example and instilled in his sons the value of hard work, perseverance, and loyalty. Those who knew Chief Piper say he showed his family and community great kindness and generosity.

A photograph of Chief Piper will be hung in the lobby of the Burlington Police Department alongside the photos of all of Burlington's former police chiefs.

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