In Memory of Law Enforcement Heroes | Independence Day

In Memory of Law Enforcement Heroes | Independence Day

 

Independence Day is a day to remember our country, it’s beginnings, how far it’s come, and also to regale in spectacular extravaganzas with neighbors, as tribute to President John Adams’ letter to his wife where he felt the conclusion of The Revolutionary War, and America’s freedom should be celebrated with ‘Pomp and Parade,’ to which citizens took the last of their gunpowder to make small explosives later dubbed ‘fireworks.’ Independence Day is also a day of solemn reflection on those who serve our country in public safety, and those we’ve lost in the line of duty.

 

Every 54 Hours

It is well known that every 54 hours, an officer is killed in the line of duty. As we move into Independence Day celebrations, July 4th represents a moment where we could break that tradition. On July 2nd, Trooper Nicholas Clark of the New York State Police was killed by a suicidal subject. This July 4th, we could honor his memory in a most meaningful way.

 

LODDs on the Fourth of July

In our history, there have been 89 line of duty deaths on the Fourth of July. Forty-nine of these have been because of gunfire. Two more have been killed by bombs. Ten more have been in vehicle incidents that were criminal. Nine of these officers were from the State of New York. Seven were from California. Six were from Alabama. Five were from Kentucky. Another five were from Missouri. The fact is that no matter where officers are, they are always exposed to certain death.

The first officer to the die on Independence Day was Patrolman John Fuchs of the Morrisania Police Department (now part of NYPD) in New York in 1866. He was killed when he approached a homeowner who was threatening people playing a baseball game near his home with a shotgun, where they had hit a baseball into his flower garden several times. For his service, Patrolman Fuchs was killed by the homeowner while taking the shotgun away, by gunfire.

The last officer to die on this holiday was last year, when Officer Bob Johnson of the Northville Police Department in New York was just returning home from shift, when he found a person who had struck a deer on the main highway in his jurisdiction. He got out of his patrol vehicle, grabbed his service firearm and approached the deer to dispatch it, but a second vehicle came upon the scene, and struck Officer Johnson. He died two hours later in a hospital.

We lose officers routinely on July 4th, and it seems a tragedy when the day is meant to remember how we gained our independence; through the persistent sacrifice of people who were protecting their families, their homes, their farms, and their communities from an invading force. It does sound an awful lot like what law enforcement officers do on our behalf, now that we no longer count on volunteers to protect us.

Trooper Nicholas Clark was killed sometime around 4:00 AM on July 2nd. If we follow the math of 54 hours, we have until 10:00 AM on July 4th to break the routine of losing an officer in the line of duty. What would be even better is to go the entire Independence Day holiday without losing a single officer. We can honor not only Trooper Clark, but all the officers we’ve lost on Independence Day.

By being a community, remaining aware of what is happening outside our doors on the very neighbor-oriented holiday, we can ensure that we are vigilant over suspicious behavior, and acting as witnesses. Believe it or not, people who may hurt law enforcement officers is much less likely to do it when you and others are present. But more importantly, being aware of our community means that law enforcement won’t walk into dangerous situations without a clue of what their facing. Some of our examples may not ring true with this virtue, but they really do.

 

Conclusions

We’d like to take the rest of the article to remember every officer lost on Independence Day:

  1. Patrolman John Fuchs – Morrisania Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1866
  2. Policeman Henry O’Donnell – Philadelphia Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1876
  3. Constable James Nelms – Grayson County Constable’s Office – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1879
  4. Sheriff William Moore – Inyo County Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1879
  5. Sheriff W. Clarence Brooks – Wharton County Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1884
  6. Officer John Lloyd – Baltimore City Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1889
  7. City Marshal Charles Wilson – Oceanside Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1889
  8. Deputy Sheriff Edward Funk – Taney County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1889
  9. Sheriff Galby Branson – Taney County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1889
  10. Deputy Sheriff Andrew Balfour – Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Monday July 4, 1892
  11. Deputy Sheriff William Whitehurst – Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1893
  12. Policeman Dennis Daly – Butte Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1894
  13. Night Policeman Arucius Koon – New Straitsville Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1894
  14. Patrolman Edward Byrnes – Louisville Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1895
  15. Town Marshal Hence Harmon – Adairville Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1896
  16. Guard Thomas Tobin – Colorado Department of Corrections – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1899
  17. Detective William Hanson – Jersey Central Railroad Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1902
  18. Patrol John Cosgrove – Jersey Central Railroad Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1902
  19. Posseman Cornelius Rowley – King County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1902
  20. Patrolman Louis Massey – Evansville Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1903
  21. Patrolman Peter Griffin – Lock Haven Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1907
  22. Deputy Sheriff Andy Downs – Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1907
  23. Chief of Police Martin Fine – LaFollette Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1908
  24. Policeman George Smith – Suffolk Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1908
  25. City Marshal Charles Farrow – Okemah Police Department- End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1909
  26. Deputy Sheriff Wesley Davis – Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Monday July 4, 1910
  27. City Marshal Jesse Craig Sr – Rocky Ford Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1911
  28. Police Officer Henry Harris – Seattle Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1911
  29. Special Deputy Sheriff Hebert Nisler – Conway County Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 191
  30. Deputy Issac Skipper – Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1914
  31. Patrolman Thomas Rogan – Burlington City Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1914
  32. Sheriff Hendrix Rector – Greenville County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1919
  33. Chief Deputy Bob Wilcox – Lake County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1919
  34. Police Officer William Pottker – Oak Park Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1919
  35. Chief Special Agent Will Reed – Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Police Department – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1920
  36. Patrolman Doc Lefler – Ashland Police Department – End of Watch: Monday July 4, 1921
  37. Police Officer Ignatz Witkowski – Ford Village Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1922
  38. Captain Edward Masterson – Marion City Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1922
  39. Officer Joseph Walsh – San Francisco Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1922
  40. Deputy Sheriff Jim Collins – Bell County Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1923
  41. Officer Charles DeBolt – Peoria Park District Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1924
  42. Lieutenant Benjamin Alexander – Boston Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1925
  43. Patrolman Oliver Holderby – Springfield Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1929
  44. Police Officer Stanley Zendarski – Bayonne Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1930
  45. Inspector Charles Eldredge – Illinois Department of Conservation Police – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1931
  46. Police Officer William Kohler – Oakland Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1931
  47. Railroad Detective Benjamin Gaughenbaugh – Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1935
  48. Assistant Chief of Police Christopher Whitson Sr – Seminole Police Department – End of Watch Saturday July 4, 1936
  49. Patrolman Frank Sowell – Lancaster Police Department – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1937
  50. Officer William Malin – California Highway Patrol – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1940
  51. Detective Joseph Lynch – New York City Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1940
  52. Detective Ferdinand Socha – New York City Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1940
  53. Deputy Sheriff John Murray – East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1942
  54. Conservation Officer Maurice Baggs – Iowa Department of Natural Resources – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1942
  55. Patrolman Thomas Blake – Prichard Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1942
  56. Patrolman Melvon Huff – Kansas City Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1945
  57. Officer Marshall Foster – Indianapolis Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1947
  58. Assistant Chief of Police Menzo Grady – Muscatine Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1947
  59. Trooper Robert Conklin – New York State Police – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1948
  60. Police Officer Joseph Meglinske – Detroit Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1950
  61. Trooper Arthur LaCroix – New York State Police – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1954
  62. Police Officer Robert Cowdin – Ottawa Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1962
  63. Chief of Police Samuel Blemker – Huntingburg Police Department – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1963
  64. Deputy Sheriff Allen Heldon Finch – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1963
  65. Deputy Sheriff Aaron Creel – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 1963
  66. Auxiliary Police Officer Elwood Darby – Philadelphia Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1964
  67. Patrolman Richard Bird – Kansas City Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1969
  68. Patrolman William Waterson – Clark Township Police Department – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1971
  69. Sergeant Joseph Maddox – Jacksonville Police Department – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1971
  70. Officer Dana Paladini – California Highway Patrol – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1972
  71. Deputy Sheriff James Arterbury – St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1973
  72. Patrolman Reuben Milam – Alexander City Police Department – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1976
  73. Officer Mack Cantrell – District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department – End of Watch: Monday July 4, 1977
  74. Officer John Hissong II – Fresno Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1981
  75. Reserve Deputy Sheriff Robert Nicholson – Wilcox County Sheriff’s Department – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1982
  76. Chief of Police Richard Oliver – Canute Police Department – End of Watch: Monday July 4, 1983
  77. Patrolman Rodney Schreurs – Park City Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1984
  78. Sergeant Ronald Slockett – Sugar Land Police Department – End of Watch: Saturday July 4, 1987
  79. Patrolman John Miller – Del Rio Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 1990
  80. Police Officer Rudolph Thomas Jr – New York City Housing Authority Police Department – End of Watch: Sunday July 4, 1993
  81. Sergeant Michael Crowe – Arizona Department of Public Safety – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1995
  82. Lieutenant Danny Elkins – Yuma Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 1995
  83. Correctional Officer William Immer – Alabama Department of Corrections – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 1997
  84. Deputy Sheriff Kevin Tarsia – Broome County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Thursday July 4, 2002
  85. Police Officer Adam Menuez – Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribal Police Department – End of Watch: Wednesday July 4, 2007
  86. Police Officer Kenneth Surles – Pell City Police Department – End of Watch: Friday July 4, 2008
  87. Detective Edwin Ortiz – New York City Police Department – End of Watch: Monday July 4, 2011
  88. Deputy Sheriff Paul Clark – St. Francois County Sheriff’s Office – End of Watch: Monday July 4, 2016
  89. Police Officer Robert Johnson – Northville Police Department – End of Watch: Tuesday July 4, 2017

In memory of every officer we’ve lost on Independence Day.