National Police Week is May 15 to 21 this year.
Which is a good time to share the brief stories of five Tempe Officers who didn’t come home at the end of their shifts. Some of them are unknown except for archival documents. The rest are remembered by their parents, siblings, spouses, children and many friends. They all came to work each day to do a difficult job protecting people they knew and many more people they didn’t know. All are missed.
Night Officer Albert Nettle was killed May 18, 1919 in a jail break. He brought a prisoner into the jail just as another prisoner was fighting with the Marshal over being separated from his friends. Nettle grabbed that prisoner but was shot by one of the others. Local citizens re-captured the escapees.
Marshal Cyrus Spangler was shot by two robbers on January 11, 1921 as they held up the Baber-Jones Mercantile at 6th Street and Mill Avenue. The robbers were shot and killed in a gunfight at Calabasas, AZ as they fled to Mexico.
Lieutenant John Bradshaw was killed on the Hohokam Expressway north of University Drive on September 21, 1987. A man escaped while being transported for a psychiatric evaluation and commandeered a motorcycle. Lt. Bradshaw was shot as the motorcycle passed him. Department of Public Safety officers caught up to the suspect in Phoenix; they killed him when he tried to shoot them. Lieutenant Bradshaw had served for 20 years.
Officer Robert Hawk was struck by a hit-and-run driver on September 23, 1988 during a traffic stop on the Superstition Freeway near Rural Road. He had been with the Department only 18 months.
Officer Kevin Weeks was killed on his police motorcycle on September 28, 2006. He was on his way home at the end of his shift and struck construction materials on the Price Freeway at Apache Boulevard. He had been on the Department seven years.
Visit the Tempe page at the Officer Down Memorial Page by searching for Tempe.
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