Captain Jerome C. Poelking

Captain Jerome C. Poelking

Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch Monday, December 8, 1975

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Jerome C. Poelking

Captain Jerome Poelking died after contracting an illness as a result of being spat upon.

He and other officers had responded to a robbery call at 11802 Kinsman Road and, when they arrived, discovered the suspects holding 15 hostages in the basement. As Captain Poelking negotiated with the suspects, one of them spat on his face.

When Captain Poelking awoke the following day, he had a temperature of 104º and had difficulty breathing. He was taken to a local hospital and died three days later from meningococcal meningitis, an inflammation of his brain and spinal cord.

Captain Poelking had served with the Cleveland Police Department for 30 years. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 56
  • Tour 30 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Friday, December 5, 1975

bloodborne pathogen, communicable disease

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NEVER FORGET! On behalf of the Ohio Attorneys General Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, we honor the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifice of Captain Jerome C. Poelking of the Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio and the additional 95 American Peace Officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on this date in history.

Superintendent Joe Morbitzer
Ohio Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation

December 8, 2023

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