End of Watch: The death of Pensacola Police Corporal Bobo Connors

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From the book, “Some Gave All,” coming soon on Amazon.

By Mike Simmons

That’s what William Henry Connors did. His dad – known as Bobo Connors – was a Pensacola Police Officer when Henry was growing up. He saw his dad work long, dangerous shifts for little pay. He saw his dad miss birthday parties and holidays and school and church events. He saw the good and the bad of police work. So, when his time came to choose a career, what did he know best? Police work. He wanted to be a Pensacola Police officer, just like his dad. He was “Little Bobo.”

So, when he marched down to the police station – the same building that he felt he had grown up in, he announced that he wanted to be a policeman, and the old guys were glad. Glad to have him carry on the tradition. But nobody called him “William,” or “Henry,” “Bill,” or “Hank.” They called him “Bobo,” the name he had always had, after his dad.

When a young person becomes a police officer, he doesn’t tell the older cops what his name is. Oh, he might tell them, but it doesn’t matter. They might call him by his given name, but they might not. They might name him. And he can’t fight it…with any success. For instance, the officer who expressed his opinion about an injured person on the street one evening was known as “Doc” from then on. Or the young officer whose name the chief couldn’t pronounce, so she was known as “Mary,” her middle name, for many years. Or the young man with the shock of ginger hair on his head was known as “Red.” But, what if the young officer didn’t like it? Tough.

Bobo Connors, Jr.

In 1944, Corporal William Henry Connors, 61 years old, had been a Pensacola Police Officer since 1921. But nobody knew him as William, or Bill, or Henry. He was “Bobo.” He had been called Bobo his entire career. The younger officers didn’t even know what his real name was. It was Bobo. Why was his father known as Bobo? No one knew that, either.

Bobo was the guy that everyone wanted to be around. Wherever Bobo was, you could be sure it wasn’t boring! After he was promoted to corporal, he spent most of his time at the station. But he also drove the patrol wagon. The wagon was a different animal. It was big, heavy, and hard to manage. The driver sat up in the seat and, leaning over, steered the big horizontal wheel, usually bouncing around in his seat. Most of the time, the wagon was driven far faster than its capacity.

On Saturday night, September 16, 1944, Corporal Connors, and Officer Lester Taylor were responding to an emergency in the patrol wagon September 12, 1944, edition of the Pensacola News Journal. Accessed 06/12/2022. The vehicle passed the intersection of Baylen and Zarragossa Streets, Connors, who was driving, suddenly slumped over the wheel and was unresponsive.

Julee Cottage, 214 W. Zarragossa Street, Pensacola

Officer Taylor immediately took the wheel and pulled the vehicle to the curb in front of 214 W. Zarragossa, the historic Julee Cottage. He radioed that the Patrol Wagon could not respond to the call, and to send an ambulance to his location immediately. Officer Connors died at 8 pm that night, presumably from heart failure, leaving the members of the police department in shock.

Grave of Bobo Connors, St. John’s Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida

Officer Connors left behind a wife, Daisy Walton Connors, two sons, William R. and George W. Connors, two daughters, Mrs. Frances Davis and Miss Maxine Connors, two sisters, and three grandchildren.

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