Deputy Keeper Joseph H. Tinney

Deputy Keeper Joseph H. Tinney

New Jersey Department of Corrections, New Jersey

End of Watch Saturday, February 4, 1928

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Joseph H. Tinney

Deputy Keeper Joseph Tinney was shot and killed as two inmates attempted to escape from the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

Handguns had been smuggled into the prison by two inmates who were allowed to go outside of the prison to work. When Keeper Tinney arrived to take the inmates to the dining hall, he was shot and killed. After killing Keeper Tinney, the inmates attempted to scale the wall. The officers in the tower opened fire on the inmates, who fired back. Both inmates were shot and wounded by the tower officers and apprehended when they fell to the ground. One was left paralyzed from the waist down.

The two inmates were convicted of Keeper Tinney's murder and sentenced to life in prison. The one who was paralyzed was paroled in 1957 and the other died in prison the same year. The two men who supplied the guns would have gotten out in less than a year. Instead they received another three years for complicity in murder.

Keeper Tinney was a WWI veteran and had served with the New Jersey Department of Corrections for three years. He was survived by his wife and daughter.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; Pistol
  • Offender One paroled: One died in prison in 1957

Most Recent Reflection

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No passage of time can ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always and thank you for both your military and law enforcement service.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

February 4, 2021

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