This Sunday is Police Memorial Day, when we pause to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

In Belmont County, there have been five–dating back to the 1800s.

Three were shot while making an arrest and one died of a heart attack during a foot pursuit.

But the most famous was Sheriff Sam Dunfee, killed while trying to take down bootleggers in the Roaring 20s.

“In 1926, Sheriff Dunfee and his deputies were conducting a raid on illegal liquor in the Provident area and a gunfight ensued. And Sheriff Dunfee was caught in the crossfire. And it eventually came out in court that he was struck by one of his own deputies’ bullets.”

Belmont County Sheriffs Deputy Tom DeVaul, DWART Taskforce Commander

Dunfee’s wife May was sworn in the next day, and became Ohio’s first female sheriff.

Here are some facts about Ohio’s officers:

  • Ohio has had 888 police officers die on duty.
  • 476 were shot.
  • 266 were killed in pursuits and crashes.
  • Six died of drowning.
  • 23 were killed in falls, fires and electrocutions.
  • And one died of a bee sting.