Patrolman James Ford

Patrolman James Ford

Harlan Police Department, Kentucky

End of Watch Monday, May 8, 1950

Add to My Heroes

James 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 were 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 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 Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

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

Most Recent Reflection

View all 5 Reflections

Patrolman Ford,
On today, the 67th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Harlan. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

May 8, 2017

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.