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Sheriff Harold A. Steele | Vinton County Sheriff's Office, Ohio Vinton County Sheriff's Office, Ohio


Harold A. Steele

Vinton County Sheriff's Office, Ohio

End of Watch: Sunday, August 30, 1970

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 61

Tour: 20 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Shotgun; 12 gauge

Offender: Sentenced to 1 to 20 years

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Sheriff Harold Steele was shot and killed while he and a deputy attempted to serve a warrant on a man for failing to appear in court.

The man had refused to let utility company employees onto his property and threatened them with a shotgun.

The suspect shot Sheriff Steele with a 12-gauge shotgun, and then shot and wounded the deputy who was with him. The suspect fled into the country side. He was arrested one week later and charged with murder.

The suspect was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to one to 20 years in prison on February 7th, 1971.

Sheriff Steele had served in law enforcement for 20 years. He had been sheriff for 14 years.

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Most Recent Reflection

In 1967, Sheriff Steele arrested me and another fool for stealing gasoline from the State of Ohio. The gasoline was stacked up next to the side of the road in 5 gallon cans. My friend and I each grabbed two cans, put them in the trunk of my car and took off.

We were both enrolled at Ohio University at the time and were not yet 20 years old. After the arrest, Sheriff Steele talked to both of us for a long time, trying to impress upon us the fact that only idiots steal.

The ODOT Foreman came to the jail and wanted us prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Sheriff Steele slowly and calmly talked the foreman out of prosecution.

Instead, he called both of our parents and made them come down to Vinton County to pick us up. He had both of my parents come so that someone could drive my car all the way back home. He said I didn't need it. Sheriff Steele also called the University and notified them of what we had done. Afterwards, we waited on the front steps of the jail until the parents arrived, nearly 2 hours later.

The actions taken by Sheriff Steele that day will never be forgotten by either my friend or myself. It has caused me to become a much more honest and responsible person and I thank him every time that I think of it. He was truly a good, decent man.

March 28, 2016


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