Chief of Police Oswell Ovid "Joe" Rowden

Chief of Police Oswell Ovid "Joe" Rowden

Cushing Police Department, Oklahoma

End of Watch Tuesday, July 30, 1968

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Oswell Ovid "Joe" Rowden

Chief of Police Oswell Rowden and Deputy Sheriff Jerry Beall of the Payne County Sheriff's Office were killed after a prisoner they were transporting caused them to crash their vehicle.

The two officers were transporting two prisoners to the Payne County Jail when one of the prisoners climbed over the front seat and attacked them. The vehicle crashed during the ensuing struggle. and both officers were killed in the accident.

The suspect was convicted of murder but was paroled in the 1970s.

Chief Rowden had been the chief since 1961 and had served with the Cushing Police Department since 1949. He was survived by his wife and two sons.


  • Age 60
  • Tour 19 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicular assault
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Paroled in 1970s

prisoner custody, transport

Most Recent Reflection

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I remember Joe Rowden went to school with his sons. In 1958 he stopped me for a quick stop at a stop sign. He said Tom you are a senior in high school I know you can read a stop sign. I replied but Joe I stopped. He said next time stop a little longer. He and my brother in law were killed 07/30 1968 while transporting 2 prisoners to the county jail.

Thomas Watson

July 30, 2023

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