Remembering Officer Dennis McNamara

In more than three decades of working here at the Daily Times, it's still one of those nights that stays with me.

It does a couple of other things as well.

It provides a stark reminder why police snicker whenever they hear a reference to a routine car stop. There is no such thing. And it again jogs the memory, wondering how can it possibly be 15 years.

On a cold January night in 2002, Upper Darby Officer Dennis McNamara was investigating a parked car. It cost him his life when he was ambushed and fatally shot by an outlaw biker and lifelong criminal.

Today they will gather in Upper Darby to honor McNamara by renaming a portion of Lansdowne Avenue in his honor.

State Rep. James Santora, R-163, of Upper Darby, and Sen.Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield will host the ceremony this morning across the street from Upper Darby High School, 601 N. Lansdowne Ave., Drexel Hill.

Santora drafted Act. No. 121 of 2016 to designate a portion of Lansdowne Avenue, from State Road to School Lane, as the Officer Dennis McNamara Memorial Highway in honor of the only police officer in Upper Darby Township to be murdered in the line of duty.

“The ceremony will be a celebration of Officer McNamara’s dedication to the important job of maintaining safety in our communities. We will reflect on his career of serving others without fear,” Santora said.

The portion of the road to honor McNamara runs in front of Upper Darby High School and Arlington Cemetery, where the officer’s body rests.

At the time of his death, McNamara was an eight-year veteran of the Upper Darby Police Department and one of its most decorated officers. While he spent his career as a patrolman, he was also an Air Force veteran who remained active in the Reserve. He is survived by his wife and two children.

We'll be there to cover the event this morning.