Police Department’s ’55 Chevy Honors Late Officer

By Steve Jusseaume

Hampton Union, Friday, May 17, 2002

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Hampton’s Anna MacDonald looks at the new Hampton Police Department antique car
with “SGT JOE” on the license plate in memory of her late husband, Joe MacDonald,
the department’s first juvenile officer.
[Carrie Niland/cniland@seacoastonline.com]

HAMPTON — — The newest Hampton Police Department vehicle is on the road, and could be put on public display as soon as this weekend, if the department can find a way to schedule the car’s entry into Sunday’s truck parade. Police Officer Al Roach said this week that a 1955 Chevy 4-door has been mostly restored, painted police black and white, has been installed with an authentic circa-1950s police emergency roof lamp, and is registered. “If we can get somebody to drive it, we might participate in this weekend’s tow truck parade,” Police Officer Al Roach said this week.

The vehicle will also be used as part of the department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program, and will be used in the annual December Christmas Parade, during Children’s Week at the beach and at other venues.

Hampton resident Paul Drew donated the vehicle to the town in early 2001 and since then the Police Department has been gradually raising money and restoring the 47-year-old antique automobile.

Roach said many individuals and organizations have contributed to the effort, including the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, the Hampton Police Association and local businessmen. Mike MacDonald, a Hampton resident and owner of North Atlantic Auto Body in North Hampton, worked on the car, Dave’s Garage in Hampton provided transportation of the vehicle while it was off the road, Gary Emilo of Route 1 Auto Sales did the mechanical work, and the antique light came from Charlie Karpenko of Salisbury, Mass., Roach said.

“We finally registered the car a couple months ago, there is still some interior work to be done but it looks good from the out side,” said Roach, estimating the value of the goods and services supplied at about $5,500.

During discussions with MacDonald, who painted the car, Roach discovered that Mike’s father, Joe MacDonald, was Hampton’s first juvenile officer.

“That was back in April of 1971,” Roach recalled. To honor the man, the registration plate on the car reads: SGT JOE, Roach said. Besides showing the vehicle off in local parades, Roach indicated the department might take it to various car shows, and possibly use the vehicle as part of the annual New Hampshire Special Olympics Torch Run, which is usually held in early summer. The classic automobile will be parked at the beach during the summer, and the department plans to display it at other locations in town, as well as in conjunction with the D.A.R.E. Program.

“She looks really good. So many people and businesses have helped us with this project, I want to thank them all. We’re looking forward to showing it off. It’s going to be a great public relations tools for us,” Roach said.

Sgt. Joe’s 55 chevy in 2002 Christmas parade @ Watson’s Lane.