James Galvin Scanlan, 61, a retired D.C. police captain, died of a brain aneurysm May 14 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He was a resident of Vienna.
Mr. Scanlan was born and grew up in Washington, graduated from Gonzaga College High School and entered Boston College on an academic scholarship. He graduated from Georgetown University and in the late 1960s from Catholic University's Columbus School of Law.
Between 1968 and 1972, he was a trial lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission. He joined the District's police department in 1972 as a uniformed officer and was promoted to captain in 1980. He retired in 1992.
As a captain, he took special delight in returning lost or stolen bicycles to their owners. He established and maintained the only official list of bicycles registered with the city. At his retirement party, the department put a toy bicycle on his cake.
Mr. Scanlan was an accomplished musician who played piano, saxophone, clarinet and coronet. He enjoyed photography, including making his own prints, and was a voracious reader of English, French and German literature.
His marriage to Julia Wieckowski ended in divorce.
Survivors include his daughter, Sofia Scanlan of Arlington; a brother, Thomas Scanlan of Fairfax; three sisters, Mary Patricia Scanlan of Washington, Sheila Scanlan Sabatini of Potomac and Sister Margaret Shawn Scanlan, SND, of Silver Spring.