Boston Police Detective 1st Class, Earl L Laird is not the most well known name in the history of the Department, but it certainly is an important and interesting story. In October of 1923, a young Laird joined the Boston Police Department. He went on to serve the city for over 40 years, as well as service to his county in both Wold War I & II. Detective Laird served in multiple capacities while employed by the City of Boston, including a range instructor and as Department Ballistician, earning him the coveted rank of Detective 1st Class.
Most notably during his career Detective Laird worked on the infamous case of Trigger Burke, the notorious hitman. Burke was a supporting player in The Brinks Job in 1954 where he was hired to murder Joseph ‘Specs’ O’Keefe, one of the brains behind the million-dollar Brinks robbery. Legend has it that Burke found O’Keefe in a housing project in Dorchester where a half hour long fire fight ensued. Laird was the primary ballistics expert who worked the scene and eventually obtained a sworn statement from O’Keefe implicating Burke in the attempted murder.
Over this past summer family members of Detective Laird presented the Boston Police Department with a Shadow Box of marksmanship awards that Detective Laird earned as a member of the Boston Police Pistol Team.
During firearms qualifications training, every Boston Police Academy class has one recruit officer awarded “Top Shot” for the highest range qualifying score. In honor of Detective Earl Laird and in recognition of his service to the City of Boston and his proficiency in marksmanship and firearms, the Boston Police Department has renamed the Top Shot award the Detective Earl L. Laird Firearm Proficiency Award.