Policeman Frederick D. Alderman

Policeman Frederick D. Alderman

Fargo Police Department, North Dakota

End of Watch Wednesday, July 5, 1882

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Frederick D. Alderman

Policeman Fred Alderman was shot and killed as he attempted to track a man who had used stolen property to pay a fine.

The man had been arrested for public drunkenness the previous night and was required to pay $8.50 before he could be released from jail. The man claimed that he could not afford the payment and asked Policeman Alderman if he could use his watch and various other personal goods to settle the debt. Policeman Alderman agreed and paid the remainder of the suspect's fine out of his own pocket.

After the suspect was released it was discovered that the property he had put towards his fine was stolen. Policeman Alderman and his partner spent the day canvassing the city for tips about the subject's whereabouts. They were given information that the man lived on the outskirts of town and they proceeded to the house at nightfall.

Fargo police officers were not equipped with night lanterns at the time and, in the darkness, Policeman Alderman mistook a neighboring home for the suspect's residence. Policeman Alderman knocked on the door of the home and asked to be admitted. When he received no response, he attempted to force the door open. As he did so, the occupant of the home opened fire on him, striking him in the chest and killing him instantly.

The woman told police that she had mistaken Policeman Alderman for a tramp who was attempting to break into her house. She was initially charged with Policeman Alderman's murder, but a jury ruled the incident justifiable homicide because Policeman Alderman did not identify himself to the woman.

Policeman Alderman had served with Fargo Police Department for only two months. He was survived by his wife and brother.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 2 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender No charges filed

mistaken identity, warrant service

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Officer Alderman,
On today, the 140th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Fargo.


United States Border Patrol

July 5, 2022

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