Orange Police Officer Kevin Donelan retiring after 33 years


Staff Writer
Published: 9/28/2020 4:35:25 PM

ORANGE — The impending retirement of Officer Kevin Donelan means the Orange Police Department will have to find a new night owl.

Donelan worked the overnight shift, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., for virtually all of his 33 years on the force. He was sworn in as a reserve officer on March 11, 1987, and joined full-time on Oct. 4, 1993. His final shift ended Monday morning and his final day on payroll will be Oct. 5, the day he turns 54.

“It feels great,” Donelan said. “It’s been a good run. I’ve worked with a lot of different people.”

Police Chief James Sullivan, who worked several years as an officer with Donelan on the night shift, said Donelan is leaving big shoes to fill.

“Kevin has always had an upbeat, positive outlook on stuff, as far cops go,” Sullivan said with a laugh, adding that Donelan has helped all his colleagues learn how to keep a cooler head under pressure. “He was a pleasure to come in and see first thing in the morning. He’s always the same happy-go-lucky kind of guy, but he worked hard for the town of Orange.”

Sullivan said Donelan chose the overnight shift, even after he gained seniority in the department. He told the Greenfield Recorder he found the shift interesting, and spent 18 great years working with Officer Louis Maroni, who is now retired.

“The years piled up and the next thing you know you kind of get comfortable. The night shift always seemed to be it for me. (I’m) nocturnal, I guess,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with. I’ve been really blessed. It’s just been fantastic.”

According to the Orange Police Department’s Facebook post announcing the retirement, Donelan graduated from the Massachusetts Police Training Committee’s full-time police academy in Agawam on April 7, 1995, and earned the Academic Achievement Award for having the highest grade-point average in his class.

On Sept. 18, 1998, he received a Lifesaver Award from the Western Massachusetts Emergency Medical Service Committee for assisting with CPR when a mother pulled over the vehicle she was driving because her child had stopped breathing due to an asthma attack on Aug. 20 of that year.

Donelan, who grew up in Orange and lives in Athol, said he got his start in the police cadet program at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in the 1980s. He entered the police force after taking the civil service exam at the suggestion of his brother, Christopher Donelan, who is now Franklin County’s sheriff.

“I am still trying to figure out how my younger brother is able to retire before me, but yes, I convinced him to get out of private security and take the civil service exam. We were both very young then and not thinking at all about retirement. I guess it turned out to be good advice,” Sheriff Donelan said. “I was a member of the Orange Police Department at that time. Between Kevin and me, there has been a Donelan on the Orange Police Department for 34 years.

“I am very proud of my brother,” he added. “He committed himself to keeping his community safe in a very difficult profession. He retires today in good health and with a stellar record of service. That is important in policing today.”

Officer Donelan said he will now spend much of his time helping his wife with her business, Read All About It On Wood, which sells wooden signs, decor and colonial-style furniture.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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