Family, police remember fallen officer

Philadelphia police dedicated a plaque Oct. 3 in honor of officer Alan H. Lewin, who died in 1975 after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Members of police officer Alan Lewin’s family, including his sister Marsha Sadel, place flowers on his plaque during a dedication ceremony held Oct. 3 at the Philadelphia Police Training Center in the Far Northeast. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

More than 43 years after police officer Alan H. Lewin died in the line of duty, family, law enforcement officials and others gathered Oct. 3 to dedicate a plaque in his memory in front of the Philadelphia Police Training Center in the Far Northeast.

Lewin died April 10, 1975, from injuries he sustained when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver at 22nd Street and Lehigh Avenue,. On March 23 of that year. He was 33 years old and living on the 5200 block of Montour St. in the Lower Northeast at the time of his death.

“It was 44 years ago, but it still hurts,” said Marsha Sadel, Lewin’s sister. “The pain never goes away. He was too young.”

Sadel, Police Commissioner Richard Ross and FOP Lodge №5 President John J. McNesby spoke at a ceremony dedicating the plaque.

“We just want you to know that he will always be here with us,” Ross said, addressing Lewin’s family. “We’re so glad that you shared him with us.”


Lewin, a West Philadelphia High School graduate, served in both the Army and the Navy and had been a member of the police department for nine years at the time of his death. He was survived by his two sons, Jeffrey and Robert, who were 7 and 9, respectively, in 1975.

Those at the dedication ceremony described Lewin as a dedicated police officer, father and entrepreneur. He started the Crab Shack at 16th Street and Belfield Avenue, which is still open today, and would routinely make trips to Maryland to pick up crabs. Sadel said he would fill the bed of his truck with ice to keep the crabs alive for the trip back to Philly.

“Alan worked very hard,” she said. “He was not lazy in any way.”

Lewin also kept a boat that he named Two Sons at Wissinoming Yacht Club and would take the boys out on the Delaware River.

“Alan had a boat,” Sadel said. “To me, it looked like a piece of wood. He was always working on it.”


Sadel said Lewin was on duty in the 22nd Police District when he issued a ticket to a driver. The driver, who later served jail time, followed Lewin to a nearby store. As Lewin was getting ready to get back into his patrol car, the driver ran over his leg, according to Sadel.

Lewin’s plaque was the 120th dedicated by the police department to officers and deputy sheriffs killed in the line of duty. Among those in attendance at the ceremony were state Rep. Martina White, City Councilmen Brian O’Neill and Al Taubenberger and many high-ranking police officers. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at