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 Sheriff Oscar 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 standoff.

The man was 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 judgment awarded to a lumber company. The man had opened the flood gates to a dam located on his property causing the lumber company's timber to be scattered and lost. The subject had claimed that the lumber company used his dam to transport their logs and refused to compensate him for it.

The subject was convicted of Deputy Harp's murder and sentenced to life in prison on May 13th, 1911. His story gained national attention and citizens 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" and the man became known as "The Defender of Cameron Dam." He was eventually pardoned by Wisconsin Governor Blaine on May 13th, 1921. He 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

View all 8 Reflections

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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