On April 15, 1944, Officer Joseph E. Shawhan died as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident while pursuing a traffic violator. The pursuit occured in the rain on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in the vicinity of Wellington Boulvard. Officer Shawhan’s right front wheel had run onto a soft shoulder causing him to lose control. The cruiser crossed the parkway and crashed into a tree. The impact was so great the motor was knocked cleared of the frame.
Officer Shawhan was to have retired in two months. He was 60 years old and had 24 years of U. S. Park Police service. Before his Park Police service, Officer Shawhan had served nine years in the US Army which included World War I and the Moro campaign in the Philippine Islands.
Officer Shawhan’s name has been engraved on Panel 41, East 7 of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.