Feb 24 2010

Police Memorial Bios

Posted by alan.mefferd in

NLEOMF LogoThe following ten officers gave their lives for the citizens of Lima and Allen County.  They were doing what they were trained to do and what they had taken an oath to do.  In the course of their duties, they paid the ultimate sacrifice.  For that, they will always be remembered as we go about our own duties and fulfill our own oath… praying all the while that our picture and bio will not be the next one to appear on this page.

For more on the Lima Lodge #21 Police Memorial, go to: http://www.fopohio21.org/?page_id=17


PHILLIP GOBEL PHILLIP GOBEL     E.O.W. December 30, 1902
On June 6, 1900, Patrolman Gobel responded to an attempted armed robbery of a local druggist.  Officer Gobel and Officer Mike Sullivan went to the north yard of the CH&D Railroad near its junction with Vine Street.  They came upon the three subjects who had attempted the robbery, and an exchange of gunfire occurred.  Shortly thereafter, Officer Gobel discovered that he had been shot, with the bullet entering the left side of his back, passing through the kidneys and going out the right side.  One of the suspects was killed at that time and later identified as Theodore Monnion.  The other two suspects were later identified as Louis Beckman and August Monnion (the deceased’s brother), who were brought back and tried for the attempted robbery.  They were sentenced to four years at the Ohio Penitentiary.  Officer Gobel was not believed to be seriously injured at the time and recovered shortly thereafter.  On December 30, 1902, Officer Gobel expired due to kidney problems, which was stated to be related to the above offense.  Officer Gobel was 42 years old at the time of his death.



Patrolman Droesch began his second employment with the Lima Police Department on October 5, 1918.  On October 24, 1918, a robbery was committed at the Limbaugh Pawn Shop on East Wayne Street.  The perpetrator of the robbery, one Thomas S. McKenna from Indiana, was pursued by on-duty police officers, and an exchange of gunfire occurred in the Market and Pine Street area.  Approximately five minutes later, Ptl. Droesch, who had been called in for duty as a result of the robbery, observed a person staggering near the intersection of Jackson and High with an apparent head injury.  Officer Droesch, thinking the person was intoxicated and injured, walked over to the subject to give him aid, when the person jerked away, pulled a gun, and shot the officer.  Officer Droesch was taken to the Lima City Hospital where he died at 2:45 AM the following day.  Due to an influenza epidemic, special permission had to be obtained from the Health Officer to allow people to gather for the funeral of the fallen officer.  The assailant, Thomas S. McKenna, was later tried and convicted for the death of Ptl. Droesch and spent the following years at the Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.


Grandstaff Badge Color

OWEN O. GRANDSTAFF     E.O.W. March 26, 1927

On March 26, 1927, Bluffton Night Police Officer Grandstaff was filling in as a temporary night police for an ailing officer named Frank Herrmann who took ill the previous December.  On this night, Officer Grandstaff had arrested a Columbus Grove man, Donald Tate on suspicion of passing a worthless $5.00 check at a local restaurant. As he was walking the young man to the city jail, the spry young Tate decided to run from Officer Grandstaff. Although he was 69 years old, Officer Gradstaff gave chase after Tate. While running on Elm Street, Officer Grandstaff suddenly pitched forward face down in the street. A doctor was summoned, but Officer Grandstaff died from an apparent heart attack brought on by the physical exertion.


Herrmann Badge Color

FRANK HERRMANN     E.O.W. September 15, 1929

In the early morning hours of September 13, 1929, 16-year old Howard Pfund was returning from Labor Day weekend and driving his car on Main Street in downtown Bluffton. By Pfund’s admission, he was traveling about 35 mph in a 25 mph speed zone. Bluffton Night Police Officer Herrmann was on foot patrol in the business district and observed the speeding motorist. He stepped into the roadway and drew his service revolver to affect a traffic stop.  The young Pfund initially mistook the actions of Officer Herrmann as an attempted hold up. An instant later, Pfund saw the badge on Officer Herrmann’s chest and attempted to swerve to miss the officer. Unfortunately, his speed and slow reaction time contributed to Officer Herrmann being run over by the automobile.  Officer Herrmann was taken to Bluffton Hospital with multiple traumas and died two days later from his injuries.


JESS L. SARBER JESS L. SARBER   E.O.W. October 12, 1933

On October 12, 1933, Sheriff Sarber and his wife, along with Deputy Wilbur L. Sharp, had just finished their evening meal and were seated in the office of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.  Three visitors arrived and Deputy Sharp answered the door.  The three men represented themselves as being executives of the Indiana State Prison, and explained that they were in Lima to interview a prisoner, one John Dillinger, who had just been moved from the Dayton City Jail to the Allen County Jail in Lima.  Sheriff Sarber asked, “Where are your credentials?” and one of the visitors said, “Here,” pulling a pistol.  He shot Sheriff Sarber before he could reach his own gun.  Mrs. Sarber and Deputy Sharp were taken prisoner and locked inside one of the jail cells, with Dillinger being set free. The other prisoners were also offered freedom, but all refused.  A citizen passing by the Sheriff’s Office heard the commotion and turned in the alarm to the Lima Police.  Lima police officers arrived and found Sheriff Sarber in an unconscious condition.  He was immediately transported to Lima Memorial Hospital, where he died at 8:05 PM that date, less than two hours after being shot.  An intensive nationwide manhunt was inaugurated throughout the United States for the killers of Sheriff Sarber.  Six men were later identified as being involved, with all of them either being captured or slain by police in the ensuing manhunt.  In addition to Dillinger, the six included Harry Coplen, Harry Pierpont, Russell Clark, Edward Shouse, Charles Makely and Joe Hamilton.


RALPH A. HARSHE RALPH A. HARSCHE    E.O.W. September 2. 1936

Deputy Ralph Harshe was appointed to the Allen County Sheriff’s Department in January of 1935, shortly after Sheriff Ralph Marshall assumed office.  On September 2, 1936, Deputy Harshe was assigned a domestic disturbance call at 1415 W. High, involving Clarke Tyree and his girl friend, Elsie Morning.  The deputy was to stand by while furniture was removed from the upstairs apartment.  Granville Morning, husband of the female, accompanied the deputy to the scene.  Shortly after the deputy and Mrs. Morning went into the apartment, shots were heard, and it is suspected that the deputy and Mrs. Morning were both murdered when they entered the apartment.  Shortly after the murders, Tyree took his own life in another room of the same apartment.  The deputy was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 10:00 AM, same date.  The deputy showed no signs of having an opportunity to protect himself, and was felled with two shots.  Deputy Harshe was 25 years old at the time of his death.


CHARLES E. HEFNER CHARLES E. HEFNER     E.O.W. February 27, 1951

Detective Hefner joined the Lima Police Department February 10, 1942.  At approximately 8:05 PM on Thursday, February 1, 1951. Det. Hefner and Det. William K. Davenport responded to a domestic disturbance at the Frank Adkins home, 311 North Jameson.  Upon arrival at the residence, the two detectives were informed by Mrs. Adkins that her husband was in the house, lying on the couch with a loaded revolver, and that she was in fear of her personal safety.  Upon entering the house, Det. Davenport lunged for the Adkins subject, wherein a brief struggle occurred with the Adkins subject attempting to shoot Det. Davenport in the stomach.  The struggle continued into the kitchen area of the house where the gun discharged striking Det. Hefner in the lower throat area.  The struggle continued over the revolver, wherein another shot was fired killing Adkins on the spot.  Additional police and ambulances were called to the scene, and Det. Hefner was transported to the Lima St. Rita’s Hospital.  He remained in critical condition for twenty-six days thereafter, and succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday, February 27, 1951, at 8:40 PM.



Patrolman Charles C. Bozeman joined the Lima Police Department on September 1, 1944 and worked most of his seven-year career as a patrolman in the Traffic division.  On Sunday, December 9, 1951, the Lima Police Department, along with the Civil Defense, held a mock air raid alert for the City of Lima.  Nine Lima police officers, at different locations in the city, were given tasks of igniting aerial bombs, which were to signal the start and finish of the alert.  Each officer was provided two railroad signal flares with which to ignite the fuse on the bombs.  Approximately 12:30 PM on that date, Ptl. Bozeman took the bomb which was assigned to him to a vacant lot across the street from his home at 1311 North Metcalf and prepared to ignite it.  Ptl. Bozeman’s wife Frances, who had sought and was refused permission to accompany him while he touched off the bomb, was sweeping the steps of her home when the explosion occurred.  The actual explosion was not witnessed by any person, but it was felt that the fuse was much shorter than the eight seconds the manufacturer specified.  Five of the other Lima police officers stated that their fuses were as short as two seconds when they ignited their bombs.  Ptl. Bozeman was immediately taken to St. Rita’s Hospital, where more than half dozen physicians and surgeons worked in vain to save his life.  Ptl. Bozeman died at 2:45 AM on Monday, December 10, 1951, fourteen hours after he ignited the bomb.



Chief Constable Clarence “Pop” Prince was Chief Constable with the town of Elida and American Township longer than most people can remember.  Pop Prince was also Mayor of Elida at the time of his death.  On Saturday, March 10, 1962 at 7:50 AM, Pop Prince was gunned down while performing his duties as Chief Constable.  On that Saturday, he received a phone call of a suspicious vehicle, occupied by two men trying on different hats, in the area of Elida High School.  Pop Prince drove to the area and located the vehicle and the two occupants.  As he approached the vehicle, gunfire erupted from the vehicle at him.  Pop Prince was struck twice with bullets fired by the occupants in the vehicle.  Pop Prince attempted to return fire at the occupants, however, his service revolver malfunctioned and he fell to the pavement mortally wounded.  He died seconds later from his gunshot wounds.  Apprehended later that evening were the occupants of the vehicle, Robert G. Lafferty and Larry Hance, both of Lima. Lafferty and Hance were in Elida preparing to rob the Elida Bank when confronted by Pop Prince.  Both were charged with the murder of Pop Prince, and after a year of court actions, were both sentenced to life prison terms.


WILLIAM F. BROWN WILLIAM F. BROWN     E.O.W. January 5, 1974

Patrolman William Brown was appointed a patrolman for the Lima Police Department on September 8, 1958.  On January 5, 1974, while on routine patrol in the north part of the City of Lima, it is believed that he saw something that aroused his suspicions at the Certified Gas Station at the corner of Robb and Cole Street.  Ptl. Brown pulled his police cruiser into the gas station parking lot and approached the attendant’s booth, which was being robbed by a person in a ski mask.  Witnesses state that Officer Brown asked the subject to remove the mask at which time the subject whirled and fired at Ptl. Brown with a gun that had not been visible to him.  Officer Brown was hit four times and fell on the floor near the door while his assailant made his getaway by jumping over the felled officer. Officer Brown managed to get back to his patrol vehicle and radio for help.  Two officers arrived within a minute of the call and began life-saving procedures.  Ptl. Brown was immediately transported to St. Rita’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 9:30 PM that date.  After an intensive manhunt and unprecedented 24-hour a day investigation, two 18 year old suspects were arrested on January 9, 1974.  Arrested as the murderer was Ross Daniel Caudill who was tried by a three-judge panel and on January 11, 1975, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Ohio State Penitentiary.  The driver of the getaway car was Calvin Dean McPheron, who was sentenced on November 25, 1974 to two consecutive 7 to 25 years imprisonment terms.


Rest in peace, Brothers.