Remembering retired Sgt. John Neal

We are deeply saddened to announce the death of former Mountain View Police Sgt. John Neal. He was 87.

Neal joined the department in April 1956 and worked assignments ranging from patrol to the Special Investigations Unit before he retired in 1983. He was especially well-known for partnering with his K9, Suma, in the early 1970s. At a time when most local departments did not have K9 units, Sgt. Neal and his ever-faithful Suma would put on demonstrations at schools and shopping centers.

Neal and Suma worked the graveyard shift, and responded to calls not just in Mountain View, but in Los Altos, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

Even after his retirement, he spent time with the MVPD family over the years, including attending last year’s Celebration of Service.

Sgt. Neal will always be a part of this department in spirit, and we send our sincerest condolences to his family. Rest in peace, Sgt. Neal.


Sgt. Neal 3

Retired Sgt. John Neal and former MVPD Chief Scott Vermeer, 2014

8 thoughts on “Remembering retired Sgt. John Neal

  1. Greg Morris

    It was my great pleasure to serve with John from 1964 to 1971. He was a hell of a good cop and a fine gentleman. RIP, John.

  2. Bill Crawford

    John was on duty my first night as a rookie cop back in 1969, along with Merv Marty. I was driving with the Patrol Sergeant, who insisted I check out the car before we hit the road. I did so, not knowing that he and Merv had “rigged” it so that that when I started it up, all the lights and sirens would come on! I got yelled at. They denied everything!

    One of John’s favorite sayings was: “Bill, we gotta get this ‘sonathebitch’… and he usually did.. He and Suma worked well together. One time we put on a demonstration where Suma attacked the “bad guy” (me), and some lady came forward yelling praises at John and Suma for arresting such “a-holes” (me) and then apologized in tears when she found out I was a cop!

    Bill Crawford

  3. Brian Geer

    Sad news indeed. John was a big influence during my training in the early 70s. He & Merv Marty “ruled” grave shift back then. Later he was my boss & still later he did an IA on me. It was bogus & he saw it quickly.

    We should remember that he was a burly former Chicago Bear, & you couldn’t ask for a better fill unit. Of particular note was the brutal homicide he cleared with determined tenacity. By going to the range the suspect practiced at, & digging up all the lead, he was able to get a match with the bullet that killed the victim.

  4. Walt kaiser

    John was one of the first people that I worked with on graves when I came on in 71. He was a patient teacher but would stand no nonsense from the perps. When I came back from narco in 76 I went in to the bureau after a stint in motors, we worked together there too. Great guy he will be missed.When I left MVPD in 79 he was one of the first to congratulate me on going to the California Dept of Justice.

  5. Kristin Moe Tidwell Killgore

    Mr Neal was our neighbor across Mercy St. I’ll never forget the day he was out watering his front yard and a biker dude came speeding down the street on his loudly rumbling motorcycle. Mr Neal yelled out “slow down!” to which this guy gave him the finger. Mr Neal dropped the hose and ran inside his house. No doubt he called in to report the biker and have his fellow officers keep an eye out for him! Yeah, Mr Neal was badass in a good way. Always nice to have an officer living in your neighborhood! Hope he’s enjoying coffee and donuts in heaven’s coffee shop.
    Kristin Moe Killgore

  6. Cathi Nordin

    I’m saddened to hear of the recent passing of Sgt. Neal. I remember him from way back, when I had my first stint as armed security for the long defunct Mark II Security Services. He was always a fair and reasonable officer who took the time to really listen before making any major decisions. There were definitely some humorous along with a couple of serious/potentially dangerous situations…

  7. Jim Floyd

    I remember John Neal as a strong supporter of youth sports, most notably for his role in building up the Mountain View Marauders Pop Warner football organization. He (along with assistant coach Anson DeRego) was a tough no-nonsense coach, you did things his way, but was fair and his players loved playing for him. Prior to Coach Neal taking over coaching duties, the team struggled to win more than a few games a year. In his first two years as head coach they won back-to-back titles. My brothers had the good fortune to play for Coach Neal. My brother Mike was a teammate of Coach Neal’s son John Jr, now a assistant coach at the University of Oregon.

  8. Steve Shisler

    I was a friend of the Neals. John and Joe were neghbor kids and we played every day after school. Det Neal would come out with his dogs and throw the football to us. He was a really great man.

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