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Col. Paul O'Leary: A trooper and a real trouper, too

January 13. 2018 11:41PM

New Hampshire lost one of its finest last Sunday with the death of retired State Police Col. Paul O'Leary.

He knew the ropes like few others, having started out as a trooper in 1953 and working his way through every rank and position of command.

That distinction was a first for the State Police, but those who knew O'Leary were not surprised by it. He was very much a hands-on commander, signing off on items large and small, so that he knew the organization inside and out.

Today, it is taken as always having been there, but it was O'Leary who helped start the police training academy. Having led a team that tackled Hampton Beach rioters - no easy chore - he was also an organizer of the State Police's first drug unit.

O'Leary was in the U.S. Coast Guard and then the Marines in two wars, and his pride in his service was only equaled by his pride in the State Police.

He loved politics, his Irish heritage, and keeping an eye out for those who serve in New Hampshire's public service ranks. Long after he had retired, he was still championing the rank-and-file, and defending their own health and retirement benefits from any and all attacks.

Our condolences to the O'Leary family and to his State Police family as well.

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