Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

Last Ring

Take a moment to remember our friends and associates who have passed.

Steve O’Leary #4333, retired Seattle Police Homicide Detective, passed away on November 2, 2021, at the age of 68.

Steve was born in Libby, Montana. When he was only one year old his family moved to New York for five years. They then moved to Spokane, Washington where he attended St. Augustine Catholic Elementary through the 8th grade. Then the family moved to Bellevue. He attended Sammamish High where he played baseball. When he graduated in 1971, he and a buddy traveled throughout Europe for a year staying in hostels. When he returned to Seattle, he worked various jobs. He finally got a full-time job at the Olympic Hotel as a bellman. There he met many police officers that recruited him to join the SPD. He joined the department in 1979.

He attended academy class #119. One of his classmates was Paul Gracy #4325. After graduation Steve was assigned to 2nd Watch West Precinct Relief. Veteran Detective Patrolman Jim Fisk #2249 took Steve under his wing. They worked cars and walked the Pike Street beat. One shift while walking Pike, they got a “man with a gun” call. As they approached the scene Steve was busy looking at an attractive woman across the street and walked into the suspect whose gun was pointed right in Steve’s face. Jim disarmed the suspect who was as startled as Steve. All Steve said was “thank God the gun was not pointed at my crotch. Jim encouraged Steve to be a detective. He listened and went to burglary and theft. Then he transferred to sex crimes where he worked with Patty Hayes #4751 and Robin Clark #4507. Next Steve got his dream assignment in Homicide working for Don Cameron #2058. Steve was teamed up with Jay Mooney #4383. They worked the Pang Fire in which four firefighters were killed. Steve went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to arrest suspect Martin Pang. He also worked the murder of Mayme Jeanne Lui with Cloyd Steiger #4313. One of his cases was the topic of the Discovery TV network “Ice Cold Killers” in which James Cushing was arrested, sentenced, and incarcerated. His final assignment was Special Deployment working for Joe Kessler #4601. Steve was the units’ cook during large events. One event Steve served smoked salmon. The only problem was he smoked the fish with hickory chips overnight below Communications’ fresh air vent. All the dispatchers got sick from the smoke and fumes. He had to feed the entire Communications’ staff to make amends. His meals were so good and well known that Mayor Nichols and his driver Joe Bouffiou #3047 would always stop by to eat during UO’s.

Steve retired on July 10, 2006, to enjoy his hobbies: golfing, fly fishing, bird hunting and bow hunting. When he became bored with just playing every day, he hired on at the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe in the North Cascades as its Chief of Police. He claimed he was the only one on the reservation that could shoot a bow accurately. After several years of this, he returned to Seattle to flag for Ken #2963 and Kathy #4149 Jakobsen. Steve frequently wore his golfing shorts while directing traffic.

Steve is survived by his sister Tara Rispoli, nephew Daniel and nieces Ali, Jackie, Jerrie, and Marla.