Originally from Meelin, County Cork, William McAuliffe was born in 1879, the fifth of seven children born to Timothy and Hanora McAuliffe.
At the time, British rule of Irish farms and industries resulted in few economic opportunities for young local men like William. So, like many men of his generation, McAuliffe immigrated from Ireland to New York in 1902. Generations of emigration from Ireland meant that McAuliffe would have arrived in a city where nearly a quarter of the population were Irish, thus also arriving into a well-established immigrant network. This Irish diaspora in New York City were adept at obtaining employment in city agencies, one of them being the New York City Police Department.
William McAuliffe joined the NYPD in 1910. He worked in the 31st Precinct, which is the present-day 19th Precinct. While working his beat, McAuliffe was shot four times in the back on March 18, 1916, on the corner of Second Avenue and East 67th Street, and died of his injuries. The perpetrator was never captured.
William McAuliffe was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, and was survived by his parents and siblings Jeremiah, Hannah, Timothy Daniel, and Margaret.
107 years later, Patrolman McAuliffe will be honored with a street co-naming on Second Avenue and 67th Street on Saturday, September 30th at 11am. All are invited to attend, and McAuliffe’s relatives from across America, Canada, and Ireland are due to attend. Tributes to Patrolman McAuliffe have been payed by many in recent days online, as a result of this project. The initiative was begun by NYPD Detective Anthony Nuccio, and sponsored by NYC Councilman Keith Powers. The City Council also honored fallen Cavan NYPD Patrolman John Patrick Flood, killed in 1917, earlier this year.
Fidelis Ad Mortem.