Deputy Sheriff Thomas H. Pohlman

Deputy Sheriff Thomas H. Pohlman

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, California

End of Watch Tuesday, April 18, 1978

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Thomas H. Pohlman

Deputy Sheriff Thomas Pohlman was shot and killed while attempting to make an arrest.

He was on patrol when he smelled ether coming from a home. Believing there was a clandestine PCP manufacturing lab, he requested assistance. He and his backup officer began checking the perimeter of the home when one subject fled on foot from inside.

Deputy Pohlman chased the subject and was able to capture him in the backyard of 3434 Whiteside Street. During the ensuing struggle, the subject was able to gain control of Deputy Pohlman's revolver and shot him. Deputy Pohlman died at the scene.

Deputy Pohlman had served with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for four years. He was survived by his expectant wife and 5-year-old son.

Bio

  • Age 27
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Not available

narcotics, arrest, foot pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

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In 1978 I was assigned to the Hollenbeck Division of the LAPD. On April 18, 1978, I was assigned to a one-man car and had stopped my vehicle, on Fowler, just south of Whiteside, just outside of our jurisdiction, to complete a report. At that time the LAPD and LASD had no direct communication. As I was completing my report, Communications Division broadcast a message from the LASD that one of their deputies was in a foot pursuit in the 3400 block of Whiteside. I immediately looked up at the street sign directly in front of me which read 3200 Whiteside. I immediately accelerated around the corner onto Whiteside and within a few seconds, I was at the scene. I saw the deputy's parked vehicle, but I had no idea of his location. I drove around the area for approximately a minute or so looking for Deputy Polman, obviously without any success. I then saw a number of LASD vehicles arriving at the location and decided to depart because I knew they had sufficient personnel to locate the deputy.
I have always regretted that I was unable to help Deputy Polman. Every time I travel on the W/B 10 freeway and pass this location, I always remember this hero and regret my inability to help him. I was so close and I had no idea what was happening right around the corner.

Sergeant Richard Laguna (Retired)
LAPD

April 18, 2020

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