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Patrolman Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr. | Cleveland Police Department, Ohio Cleveland Police Department, Ohio

Patrolman

Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr.

Cleveland Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch: Monday, September 28, 1970

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 27

Tour: 1 year

Badge # Not available

Military veteran

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; Pistol

Offender: Sentenced to life

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Patrolman Joseph Tracz was shot and killed and his partner was seriously injured after they stopped a vehicle, occupied by two men, for running a stoplight.

As Patrolman Tracz's partner was speaking with the driver, the driver suddenly opened fire with a pistol hitting him in the groin, chest, and mouth. His passenger then shot Patrolman Tracz. Patrolman Tracz's partner managed to crawl back to his cruiser and radio for help.

In May of 1972, the suspects who had been at large, were arrested after they robbed a bank near the scene of the shooting. A year later both suspects were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Patrolman Tracz's killer was denied parole on November 9, 2009. His next parole hearing is in 2019.

Patrolman Tracz had served with the Cleveland Police Department for less than 1 year. He was a Vietnam Veteran. He is survived by his wife and unborn child.

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I met Joe in 1965 when we were in the same company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. I remember Joe has being a big "kid", but very nice, pleasant and helpful. In late 1966 I was sent to Vietnam and assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and Joe went to the 101st Airborne Division, I think. I was shocked when I picked up a magazine in late 1970 and read that Joe had been killed while on duty with the Cleveland Police Department. A few years ago my wife and I visited Cleveland, OH. First thing I did was to go to the PD, get more information, and visit the memorial. I, too, joined law enforcement - A suburban PD of Minneapolis, MN. I think of Joe very often. He really brought goodness to this world.

Patrolman/Detective David Norddan
Brooklyn Park PD and Army buddy
February 28, 2016

 

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