Conservation Officer James Dallas Pitzer

Conservation Officer James Dallas Pitzer

Indiana Department of Conservation, Indiana

End of Watch Sunday, January 1, 1961

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James Dallas Pitzer

Conservation Officer James Pitzer was shot and killed while investigating two men who were illegally hunting rabbits in Jay County.

One of the men was a recent parolee, 53, who served 31 years for murder, and feared he would be sent back to prison, shot and killed Conservation Officer Pitzer, who died instantly from a single shotgun blast which struck him in the head. There was no indication of a robbery, but Conservation Officer Pitzer's .38-caliber service revolver had been ripped from its holster and was not found at the scene. Officer Pitzer had written the men's names on his notepad which led to the arrest of the suspect and his 18-year-old companion the next day.

The killer, in 1926 when 18, was convicted of killing his employer and sentenced to life. A few years later he escaped from Indiana State Prison and eluded police for five years before being captured in Covington, Kentucky. He was pardoned by Governor Harold W. Handley in 1957. On February 13, 1961, he was convicted of Officer Pitzer's murder and sentenced to life. He died of a heart attack in prison on October 16, 1972.

Conservation Officer Pitzer had served with the Indiana Department of Conservation for 20 years, and was the first conservation officer killed in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife and two children.

The Indiana Division of Natural Resources - Division of Law Enforcement's highest commendation award is named the Pitzer Award in honor Officer Pitzer and is awarded annually.


  • Age 54
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Died in prison

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Conservation Officer Pitzer.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

January 15, 2022

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