Patrolman James Edwin Ford

Patrolman James Edwin Ford

Harlan Police Department, Kentucky

End of Watch Monday, May 8, 1950

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James Edwin Ford

Patrolman James Ford was shot and killed from ambush as he and his partner were on patrol.

The previous night, Patrolman Ford's partner had arrested a man for carrying a concealed weapon. The man had been released from jail shortly after midnight. As the officers patrolled the city, they observed the man run from the front steps of his brother's home. When the officers stopped to investigate, they were immediately fired upon from several different directions.

Patrolman Ford was shot several times. He was taken to Harlan City Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries one hour later.

The suspect, who ran from the officers and four family members, was arrested and charged with Patrolman Ford's murder. The suspect, who claimed self-defense, was tried and acquitted. On April 21, 1951, he shot and killed a former Harlan police officer. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. In 1955 he received a new trial, was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to ten years. He was paroled in 1960.

Patrolman Ford was a United States Army veteran and had served with the Harlan Police Department for only five days. He had previously served as the police chief in Evarts, Kentucky.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 5 days
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Acquitted


Most Recent Reflection

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he was my great uncle and he is loved rip

aiden ford
he was my great uncle

August 11, 2022

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