Harambee Park Playground in Dorchester Named in Honor and Memory of BPD Sergeant Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds: On Monday, October 15, 2018, Mayor Martin Walsh, Commissioner William Gross and the men and women of the BPD gathered at Harambee Park in Dorchester to name a portion of the park in honor and memory of Sgt. Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds who died in the line of duty as a result of injuries sustained in the days after the attack on the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Said Mayor Martin Walsh, “I’m so proud to name this new playground and courts after Sergeant Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds. He was a Boston hero and residents will honor him when visiting the park that now bears his name. His spirit and service to the citizens of our city should never be forgotten and, thanks to today’s ceremony and the naming of this playground, it never will.”
Said Commissioner William Gross, “The promise and pledge we make to any officer who dies in the line of duty while protecting and serving the citizens of our fine city is to never forget their service and sacrifice. No doubt, Sgt. Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds made that sacrifice in the days that followed the attack on our Boston Marathon in 2013 when bravely responded to Watertown to confront those responsible for the attack and it’s certainly reaffirming and right that his spirit and sacrifice should forever live on in the naming of the courts and playground here at Harambee Park where young people for years to come will come to know and learn about the person, police officer and hero that was Sgt. Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds.”
Offered DJ’s younger sister, Nicole Simmonds, “My greatest fear was that DJ and his service would somehow be forgotten, but the naming of this park in his honor shows me and my family that DJ’s spirit will never be forgotten. For a long time, my older brother, DJ, watched over me and I know he will do the same for all who come here to play. This is his playground and I know he’ll be watching over and keeping safe all who come here to gather and play. Lastly, in his honor, I ask that this playground also be a place where cops and community members can come together as one and feel the support and strength of a hero who will continue to watch over the city he was honored to protect and serve.”
Sergeant Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds, a 5-year veteran of the department, was 28-years-old at the time of his passing.
According to the Parks and Recreation Department, the opening of the Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds playground marks the completion of the first phase renovation of Harambee Park, a 44-acre active recreation parkland located at 930 Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester. The 2nd phase, budgeted for an additional $3.5 million, will include the construction of two natural turf multi-sport fields for soccer and lacrosse with construction slated for the summer of 2019.