Who was the first US police officer killed in the line of duty? When and where did it take place? By US police officer, I mean any active-duty police officer working for any force in the US post-constitution.

  • I knew there would be some clarification needed, I just didn't know what. Does that clarify?
    – Luke_0
    Aug 16, 2012 at 22:27
  • A lot better, yes. Its still quite likely that this isn't information it would be possible to get. A lot of the USA then was frontier, where the law (and who was a lawman) isn't all that cut an dried. Only the largest cities would have had something that might look recognizable to us today as a "police force".
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 16, 2012 at 22:34
  • Why post-Constitution; wouldn't events under the Articles of Confederation count? Aug 17, 2012 at 1:18
  • I did an essay on this the first o found died by being drunk and falling off his horse on the way home from the saloon was a sheriff in new York
    – user12263
    May 3, 2015 at 12:14
  • I don't imagine that "falling off his horse on the way home from the saloon" would count as being "killed in the line of duty" by most people.
    – Steve Bird
    May 3, 2015 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


The first modern police force in the United States was the Philadelphia Police Department, and according to the Officer Down Memorial page, the first PPD officer killed in the line of duty was Watchman Steven Heimer, shot at the beginning of a riot on January 8, 1828.

Of course, police are not the only law enforcement in the U.S.— there were sheriffs and watchmen going back to early colonial times. The ODMP lists Constable Darius Quimby of the Albany County (New York) Constable's Office, shot while making an arrest on January 3, 1791, as the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in the United States.

  • 2
    Good job! ... +1
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 17, 2012 at 0:08
  • @choster +1 great answer great sources. :)
    – E1Suave
    Aug 17, 2012 at 4:58
  • I think its good but it does say the name
    – user1241
    Aug 20, 2012 at 15:55

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