Chief of Police Silas West

Chief of Police Silas West

Somerset Police Department, Kentucky

End of Watch Monday, January 16, 1928

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Silas West

Chief West was shot and killed at 8:55 p.m. in a gun battle with a drunk man he and another officer attempted to arrest. The suspect was shot at least eight times and killed.

Earlier in the day Chief West had arrested the suspect for being drunk in public. The suspect was released to another officer with the promise to appear in court the following day. That night as Chief West was patrolling with another officer they spotted the suspect on the south side of the Public Square in downtown Somerset. Chief West began to arrest the suspect when the offender pulled a revolver from his waist and began shooting at the Chief, striking him in the chest and right hand.

Chief West was able to draw his own revolver using his left hand was able to get all 6 rounds off, striking the suspect several times. The officer patrolling with Chief West also shot the suspect, firing all 6 rounds from his weapon. The suspect died at the scene, while Chief West walked himself to the hospital located a few blocks away. The following day Chief West succumbed to his injuries and died around the same time he'd been shot the previous day.


  • Age 58
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 1

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed

arrest attempt

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service to the citizens of your community and nation. As a fourth generation relative I want you to know your legacy, service, and appreciation live on in the multitude of ways your descendants continue to follow your example. I honor your service on this 92nd anniversary of your ultimate sacrifice. Blue lives matter and are appreciated!

Jim Alford
fourth generation relative

January 16, 2020

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