Police Officer Randolph E. Brightwell

Police Officer Randolph E. Brightwell

Howard County Police Department, Maryland

End of Watch Monday, May 29, 1961

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Randolph E. Brightwell

Police Officer Randolph Brightwell was shot and killed after stopping a car for having a loud muffler on Fells Lane in Ellicott City.

Unbeknownst to Officer Brightwell, the two occupants had just committed an armed robbery of a convenience store and had murdered the clerk.

During the traffic stop, the two men attacked Officer Brightwell and shot him with his own service weapon. Officer Brightwell's police canine was locked in his patrol car during the incident.

Both men were convicted of murder but were released on parole after serving only 16 years.

Officer Brightwell had served with the Howard County Police Department for six years. He was survived by his wife, son, and daughter.


  • Age 33
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Both paroled after 16 years

murder suspect, parolee, robbery, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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Slain Howard County Police Officer honored for making the ultimate sacrifice 60 years ago

Posted on Sunday, May 30th 2021
Fox 5 News

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WBFF) - A slain Howard County police officer and World War II veteran was honored Saturday for making the ultimate sacrifice six decades ago.

“We’re commemorating the 60th anniversary of the line of duty death of Officer Randy Brightwell,” said Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers.

Howard County Police, the Howard County Retired Officers Association, and many others gathered for a wreath laying ceremony to remember Howard County Police Officer Randolph Brightwell.

Brightwell was shot during a traffic stop in Ellicott City in 1961.

He was the first officer from the department to die in the line of duty.

“As police officers we are tasked with keeping peace and he did that. He gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life protecting the citizens of Howard County,” said Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers.

Brightwell was a K9 officer with the department.

His son Randolph Jr. was just a baby when he was killed.

He was taken aback by all who gathered to remember his father Saturday.

“You know nobody had to be here today and I appreciate it so much and it just tells you how important it is,” he said.

Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers says it’s important the department always remember him.

“It is just always an honor to be able to acknowledge that great work, mourn with the family, and let them know they’ll never be forgotten,” she said.

It’s a sentiment his son says is more important now than ever before.

“I pray for everyone to come safely home to their families at night. It’s something I thought about my entire life because my father didn’t come home, so I always think and pray for those now that they will be safe,” he said.

Retired Police Officer

May 30, 2021

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