Monday, October 4, 2010

Days From Retirement...

After last week's two articles about the shortest serving and longest serving officers who were killed in the line of duty, I received the following question:

"With your recent listings of officers lost on their first day and with 40 or more years of service, I was curious to know if there have been any LODDs involving the infamous cop movie cliche of "two weeks to retirement". I figure that overworked subplot had to originate in reality somewhere."
Sadly, this cliche is based in fact. After looking through the ODMP's records I was able to identify 19 officers who were killed after having announced their retirement - some within days of reaching it. In two cases, the lawmen were killed in the line of duty after coming out of retirement to fill in for staffing shortages.

Chief Walter Braswell
Officer Joseph Dardis
In 1965, Chief of Police Walter Braswell was shot and killed two months after coming out of retirement to fill in as Fremont, N.C., looked for a new chief. Chief Braswell had already served 40 years as a police officer! The other incident occurred in 1944 when 72-year-old Officer Joseph Dardis came out of retirement in Beacon, N.Y., to help out due to WWII staff shortages. As the young men of the town were off fighting and dying in the war, Officer Dardis died while fighting with a U.S. Navy deserter who was walking the streets.

Both of these heroes had already survived the streets and did not have to return to duty in their latter years but did. Like those who went before them, and those who fell after them, they were protectors and warriors. We will never let them be forgotten.

Killed days from retirement:

Sergeant Michael J. (Owshaney) Lawrence Minneapolis Police Department, MN 1925-12-30
Deputy Sheriff Ernest C. Prouty Jasper County Sheriff's Department, IN 1931-01-04
Night Watchman Charles O. Riske Moulton Police Department, TX 1935-03-02
Police Officer Eugene J. Chavis Philadelphia Police Department, PA 1944-05-20
Police Officer Joseph Dardis Beacon Police Department, NY 1944-07-24
Sergeant James McCullough Flint Police Department, MI 1952-02-28
Lieutenant John William Hood Cobb County Police Department, GA 1960-06-25
Chief of Police Walter Brannon Braswell Fremont Police Department, NC 1965-11-13
Deputy Warren LaRue Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, AZ 1971-01-18
Patrolman Frank Buczek Plainfield Police Department, NJ 1971-09-18
Patrolman Donald A. Brown Boston Police Department, MA 1974-05-24
Police Officer Richard F. Gipson Chicago Police Department, IL 1981-02-04
Patrolman Jerome Victor Haaf Minneapolis Police Department, MN 1992-09-25
Lieutenant Herbert Berkeley Stovall Jr. Peralta Community College District Police Department, CA 1995-08-16
Officer Terry Eugene Foster Independence Police Department, MO 2001-03-17
Police Officer John Perry New York City Police Department, NY 2001-09-11
Lieutenant Charles A. (Bo) Harrison Pasco County Sheriff's Office, FL 2003-06-01
Corporal Cesar Velazquez Hainesville Police Department, IL 2009-05-15
Chief of Police Daniel K. Duncan Lake Oswego Police Department, OR 2010-05-20

This is likely not a complete list, due to lack of reporting or loss of records from departments. If you are familiar with any additional cases, please post them in the comments form below or submit an update to their memorial on the ODMP.