Abington police officers, officials and members of Thomas Mathews’ family gathered this morning for the unveiling of a memorial plaque at the township building.
Mathews is the only Abington police officer to die in the line of duty; he was shot and killed June 29, 1949, while responding to a burglary call in the Rydal section of the township. His killer was extradited from Virginia, and executed in Pennsylvania in 1953.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman spoke to the crowd; she said that the unveiling was particularly special to her, as she is an Abington resident.
Abington Police Chief William Kelly read Mathews’ bio to the crowd. He said the program was meant to remember Mathews, not to dwell on his death.
The program was part of the Montgomery County COPs Hero Plaque Program, and was a joint effort between the DA’s office, the Abington Police Department and Jimmy Binns, a lawyer from Philadelphia who founded the program in 2001. Former District Attorney Bruce Castor helped bring the program to Montgomery County.
The police union, the command staff, and Citizens and Police Together helped pay for the plaque.
There have been more than 15 plaques unveiled in Montgomery County for fallen officers this year.