I’ll rephrase that one.
The painter was Samuel F.B. Morse (Art Object Page)(later better known for telegraphy and his code), and the officer was Maj. Marcus Reno.
Story set in the present day at the time of its first publication?
Sidekick to another character?
Were you a British cop who preferred that people not know your first name?
Were you Ike’s brother?
Did you sing along to a public performance of “The Volga Boatman”?