Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Day: A Dangerous Day to Be a Police Officer

In 1806, America was only 30 years old. A total of only four law enforcement officers had been killed during that 30 year period. The year was almost over and most people were celebrating Christmas - except for a group of New York City rioters that were wreaking havoc in Manhattan.

On that fateful day, New York City Watchman Christian Luswanger, became the first police officer in America to be killed on Christmas Day when he was stabbed while attempting to maintain order.

Det. Donald Miller
Slain Christmas Day 2001

Since Watchman Luswanger's murder in 1806, 82 other law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty on Christmas Day, more than half of whom have been fatally shot.

On average, any given date of the year has seen about 56 law enforcement officer fatalities. So why does Christmas Day, a day that is supposed to be happy and peaceful, have such a disproportionate number of deaths at 83?

As it turns out, families fight when they get together. And as every police officer knows, domestic disturbances often have violent outcomes. Not only are officers victims of shootings that stem from domestic disturbances, but they are often killed in automobile crashes while responding them.

For those of you officers who will be working this Christmas Day please be extra vigilant. Wear your vest. Wear your seat belt. Slow down. Wait for backup if feasible. Most importantly, go home at the end of your shift. That is the best way to honor the brave men and women who were taken from their families on such a special day.

For everyone else, please visit the memorial of an officer who was killed or died in the line of duty on Christmas Day and leave them a special Reflection. They will never be forgotten.

Watchman Christian Luswanger New York City Watch, NY 1806-12-25
Watchman Henry Carroll Cincinnati Police Division, OH 1853-12-25
Patrolman John D. Sullivan Savannah Police Department, GA 1869-12-25
Deputy Sheriff John Green United States Department of the Interior - Bureau of Indian Affairs - Division of Law Enforcement, US 1878-12-25
Sheriff George Washington Epperson Bradford County Sheriff's Office, FL 1885-12-25
Deputy Marshal Matthew Barnhill Jesup Police Department, GA 1889-12-25
Chief of Police William James Kittrell Gainesville Police Department, GA 1890-12-25
Deputy Constable Tom H. Loftin Falls County Constable's Office - Precinct 7, TX 1894-12-25
Deputy Marshal Columbus Brown Orleans Police Department, IN 1895-12-25
Patrolman Louis Klusman Cincinnati Police Division, OH 1896-12-25
Chief of Detectives John Donahue Hot Springs Police Department, AR 1902-12-25
City Marshal L. Elmer Ferguson Ringwood Police Department, OK 1903-12-25
Deputy Sheriff Mack Roberts Leslie County Sheriff's Office, KY 1905-12-25
Chief of Police James J. Mitchell St. Petersburg Police Department, FL 1905-12-25
Deputy Chief Marshal James Leonard Holland Booneville Police Department, AR 1906-12-25
Special Deputy Lee Eldridge Sullivan County Sheriff's Department, TN 1907-12-25
Deputy Marshal John C. Mullins United States Department of Justice - Marshals Service, US 1908-12-25
Corporal Juan Roig-Loyola Puerto Rico Police Department, PR 1908-12-25
Deputy Sheriff David Olius (Ollie) Battle Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, AL 1910-12-25
Deputy Sheriff John Ernst Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, OK 1910-12-25
Policeman Floyd C. Eiler Los Angeles Police Department, CA 1911-12-25
Police Officer William (Billie) Nelson Midvale Police Department, UT 1912-12-25
Officer Otto Albertson Poughkeepsie City Police Department, NY 1916-12-25
Police Officer Joseph A. Coghill Dormont Police Department, PA 1921-12-25
Patrolman Joseph T. Connor Quincy Police Department, MA 1922-12-25
Patrolman Neil McIntyre South Bend Police Department, IN 1923-12-25
Chief of Police Nels H. Romer Mandan Police Department, ND 1926-12-25
Detective Homer C. Nuckolls Pine Bluff Police Department, AR 1926-12-25
Patrolman Walter E. Rauch Dayton Police Department, OH 1927-12-25
Patrolman Herbert D. Allen Boston Police Department, MA 1927-12-25
Deputy Sheriff Langford Hennessey Marion County Sheriff's Department, TN 1927-12-25
Sheriff George Washington (Wash) Coppinger Marion County Sheriff's Department, TN 1927-12-25
Border Patrol Inspector Robert H. Lobdell United States Department of Justice - Border Patrol, US 1928-12-25
Sergeant Francis Cyril Guest Coral Gables Police Department, FL 1928-12-25
Police Officer Raleigh W. Taylor San Antonio Police Department, TX 1930-12-25
Patrolman James D. Turner Louisville and Nashville Railroad Police Department, RR 1931-12-25
Deputy Sheriff Berry Palmer Atkinson County Sheriff's Office, GA 1931-12-25
Deputy Sheriff Owen Woodford Sizemore Harlan County Sheriff's Department, KY 1931-12-25
Patrolman Edwin D. Milam South Carolina Highway Patrol, SC 1934-12-25
Patrolman Joseph P. Reiner New York City Police Department, NY 1935-12-25
Policeman Thomas O'Neill Butte Police Department, MT 1935-12-25
Special Agent William E. Smith United States Department of the Treasury - Internal Revenue Service - Alcohol Tax Unit, US 1937-12-25
Town Marshal John James Speed Union Police Department, MS 1937-12-25
Officer Waldemar L. Jentzsch San Francisco Police Department, CA 1937-12-25
Chief of Police Jasper Addison Gargis Southern Pines Police Department, NC 1939-12-25
Policeman W. G. Chamberlain Los Angeles Police Department, CA 1941-12-25
Policeman William J. Henderson Philadelphia Police Department, PA 1941-12-25
Officer James J. Goodson St. Petersburg Police Department, FL 1947-12-25
Sergeant Joseph L. Hojak Johnstown Police Department, PA 1949-12-25
Deputy Sheriff Bill Miller Magoffin County Sheriff's Office, KY 1951-12-25
Patrolman Joseph Pych Enfield Police Department, CT 1954-12-25
Auxiliary Policeman William James Henhoeffer Philadelphia Police Department, PA 1955-12-25
Police Officer Marvin Elton Wills Fort Worth Police Department, TX 1955-12-25
Patrolman William Ligon Acker Anderson Police Department, SC 1956-12-25
Assistant Chief Robert Henry Potter Tulia Police Department, TX 1960-12-25
Police Officer Dominic Paparelli Archbald Borough Police Department, PA 1960-12-25
Sergeant Jack Lee Cooper Baltimore City Police Department, MD 1964-12-25
Deputy Sheriff James M. Alexander Washington County Sheriff's Office, ID 1965-12-25
Deputy Sheriff Frank Earl Dannenberg Cook County Sheriff's Office - Department of Court Services, IL 1967-12-25
Detective Kathleen M. Reilly Nassau County Police Department, NY 1967-12-25
Patrolman James A. Traylor South Carolina Highway Patrol, SC 1970-12-25
Patrolman Leonard Meeks Jr. North Carolina Highway Patrol, NC 1972-12-25
Chief of Police George H. King Evarts Police Department, KY 1973-12-25
Sheriff William M. (Billy) Phillips Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office, OK 1980-12-25
Patrolman Berry Joe McGuire Amarillo Police Department, TX 1980-12-25
Officer Gerald Eldin Dormaier California Highway Patrol, CA 1980-12-25
Police Officer Edward K. Alley Jr. Birmingham Police Department, AL 1980-12-25
Officer Sam E. Etheredge Jr. Daytona Beach Police Department, FL 1980-12-25
Corrections Employee Gregory J. Gunter United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons, US 1982-12-25
Policeman Guadalupe Sanchez-Morales Puerto Rico Police Department, PR 1982-12-25
Detective Robert L. Zore Metro-Dade Police Department, FL 1983-12-25
Lieutenant Thurman Earl Sharp Marion County Sheriff's Department, IN 1988-12-25
Police Officer Freddie Dukes Philadelphia Police Department, PA 1990-12-25
Officer George A. Dzyak Rostraver Police Department, PA 1993-12-25
Deputy Darryn Leroy Robins Orange County Sheriff's Department, CA 1993-12-25
Police Officer Jerome Harrison Seaberry Sr. Lake Charles Police Department, LA 1995-12-25
Patrolman Mark Allen Swaney Davidson Police Department, NC 1997-12-25
Detective Donald Miller New Bern Police Department, NC 2001-12-25
Police Officer John Patrick Watson Kenai Police Department, AK 2003-12-25
Police Officer Robert Nguyen Jersey City Police Department, NJ 2005-12-25
Police Officer Shawn Carson Jersey City Police Department, NJ 2005-12-25
Sergeant Marc Charles Wilbur Avon Park Police Department, FL 2008-12-25
Corporal Dennis Edward Engelhard Missouri State Highway Patrol, MO 2009-12-25