Deputy Sheriff Oscar Harp

Deputy Sheriff Oscar Harp

Sawyer County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin

End of Watch Saturday, October 8, 1910

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Oscar Harp

Deputy Harp was shot and killed as he was taking up a position behind a cabin containing a barricaded suspect. After exchanging gunfire with officers for several hours the suspect surrendered. Several other officers were also wounded during the stand off.

The suspect was John Deitz, known as "The Defender of Cameron Dam". The Sheriff was attempting to seize his cabin and other property in order to satisfy a $22,000 judgement awarded to a lumber company. Deitz had opened the flood gates to a dam located on his property causing the lumber companie's logs to be scattered and lost. Deitz said the lumber company used his dam to transport their logs and refused to compensate him for it.

John Deitz was convicted of Deputy Harp's murder and sentenced to life in prison on May 13, 1911. His story gained national attention. People from everywhere contributed thousands of dollars to a fund aimed at having him released. Hollywood produced a movie about his story in 1913 called "Dietz Battle at Cameron Dam". Deitz was pardoned by Wisconsin Governor Blaine on May 13, 1921. John Deitz died on May 8, 1924.


  • Age 35
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Pardoned in 1921

Most Recent Reflection

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It's sad that even 110 years ago our Hollywood "elite" and celebrities seemed to victimize and glamorize the evil while vilifying the heroes in our law enforcement. Not much has changed unfortunately Deputy Harp, but one thing is for sure, no passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

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

October 8, 2020

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