Biography of James Ahearn

Connected with the Providence Police Department for more than four decades, Deputy Chief Ahearn’s rise was steady and for many years he has been considered one of the ablest and most reliable police officials in Rhode Island’s capital. As deputy chief and deputy superintendent he has very ably assisted Chief William F. O’Neil in the administration of the Police Department during the last five years. Deputy Chief Ahearn is very popular with the citizens of Providence, and also enjoys to an unusual degree the liking and respect of the members of the Police Department.

James Ahearn was born at Brantford, Connecticut, October 13, 1860, a son of James and Bridget (O’Brien) Ahearn, both now deceased. His father, who was a native of County Cork, Ireland, was engaged as a granite cutter until his death. Deputy Chief Ahearn’s mother was born in County Limerick, Ireland. Educated in the public schools of Providence, Deputy Chief Ahearn, after leaving school spent six years at the trade of granite cutter. In 1887 he became associated with the Providence Police Department, starting as a patrolman. On October 6, 1903, he was attached to the detective bureau at the City Hall and several years later he was made a lieutenant. His next promotion came to him on February 3, 1918, when he was made a captain and inspector, and four years later, in 1922, he was made chief inspector. Soon afterwards, June 17, 1925, he became deputy chief and deputy superintendent of the Police Department, which position he has continued to hold ever since then and which he has filled with marked success and to the entire satisfaction of the community. His religious affiliations are with St Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church of Providence. His recreation is found chiefly in fishing.

Deputy Chief Ahearn married, in 1900, Mary H. Hines, a native of Providence, who died in 1906. They had three children:

  1. J. Edward, a graduate of the English High School of Providence, and later, for two years, a student at Providence College, now connected with the Providence “News-Tribune” as a reporter.
  2. Joseph Leo, a graduate of the Classical High School, as well as of Brown University, class of 1926, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then took up the study of law at the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1929, since when he has been successfully engaged in the practice of law in Providence.
  3. William C., now deceased.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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