News, Police/Fire

Serving in the Swampscott Police Department is a family affair for Cassidys

John Cassidy, left, and John Cassidy Jr. carry on a family legacy of serving with the Swampscott Police Department. (Olivia Falcigno)

SWAMPSCOTT — Three generations of the Cassidy family have become Swampscott police officers, and John Cassidy Jr. is the most recent to earn his badge.

The 30-year-old father of 15-month-old John Cassidy III joined the town’s force two weeks ago. He follows his father, John “Rich,” his uncles, Peter Jr., Michael, Timothy and Reid (who became a probation officer), and his grandfather, former Swampscott Police Chief Peter Cassidy.

“I think it’s good to keep the tradition going of being another Cassidy that can make a difference in the town that we grew up in,” he said. “I think I always knew I wanted to be a cop, but I didn’t always think I was going to pursue it.”

John was largely into football as a kid, he said, and had dreams of a professional sports career. Once he realized that dream wasn’t going the distance, he decided to pursue the family business. 

He joined the military in 2008 and had a seven-year stint working at the Middleton House of Correction, which he said has helped bring a much-needed perspective to his new law enforcement job.

“He’s been in the military for so long and has been all over the world, so he knows how to handle himself,” said Rich Cassidy. “I have every faith in my son.”

Longtime Patrolman Rich Cassidy said he didn’t always want to be a cop — he initially wanted to start his own business with his best friend, current Swampscott Lt. Thomas Stephens — but when he got the chance to work alongside his brothers, it was the best feeling in the world.

“As brothers, we knew that no matter what we were going to be protected,” Rich Cassidy said. “The first job I ever did was the fireworks in 1985, and someone threw a bottle at me and two of my brothers came down and were all over him. You never know who is going to be there for you as a police officer, but I did with them by my side.” 

Growing up in a police station where his father and uncles worked, John said it definitely made it easier to follow in the law enforcement path. 

“John has been coming here since the day he was born,” said Rich Cassidy. “We both have that same path where we grew up in the police station coming down to see our fathers, seeing sides of the force that other kids don’t get to see, riding around in police cars when you’re a little kid, and getting taken to school in a police car.”

But, living in a small town with the Cassidy name did have its challenges, said John.

“In high school, people would be like: ‘oh everyone is looking out for you because your father is a cop,’ and that was never something that felt good to hear,” said John Cassidy. “I also knew that no matter what, my father was finding out, or somebody at the station was finding out, anything I did when I was younger because everybody knew me.”

“John was captain of the football team,” said Rich Cassidy. “I’d go to him and the players and tell them they couldn’t be going to any big parties because that’s when we’re coming and that’s where you’re going to get caught. Did I treat him special? No, but I treated everybody with honor. As a father I’d threaten him every time he walked out the door, but as a police officer I did not.”

The pressures that came with going through high school with a Cassidy name were more beneficial than anything, John said. It subconsciously kept him out of trouble. When he saw all the good done before him by his father, uncles and grandfather, John said he knew that’s where he needed to be.

He said he is looking forward to not only adding to his family’s legacy, but being another person to make a positive impact on the town.

“To me, being a cop means being able to go out there and kind of make a difference in everybody’s life, and realize that each person that you deal with is different and everybody has a different story,” said John Cassidy. “You get to see walks of life that not everybody gets to see.” 

Next in the Cassidy blue line could be John Cassidy III. Rich Cassidy already bought his young grandson an electric police car, in hopes he’ll have an interest in the family business, but John Cassidy said he looks forward to supporting his son’s future career, whatever it may be.

“I believe my family has always tried to do the best for the town, even my sisters and in-laws who are nurses and teachers in our schools,” said Rich Cassidy. “My father and my uncle (Francis) paved the legacy for us. It started with them.”

 

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