Constable Franklin G. Dix

Constable Franklin G. Dix

Gates Police Department, New York

End of Watch Tuesday, November 15, 1932

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Franklin G. Dix

Constable Franklin Dix succumbed to an accidental gunshot wound sustained the previous day.

He was attending the town board meeting, at Wegman Road and Buffalo Road, when his pistol fell from its holster as he bent over. The pistol discharged when it struck the ground. The round struck Constable Dix in the abdomen, causing a serious sound. He was taken to a local hospital where he died the following day.

Constable Dix had served with the Gates Police Department for two years. He was also a member of the Gates-Chili Volunteer Fire Department. He was survived by his wife, son, daughter, parents, and two sisters.


  • Age 27
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Incident Date Monday, November 14, 1932

accidental discharge

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RIP Constable Dix.

May 6, 2018: Posted on Democrat and Chronicle USA TODAY NETWORK

Gates constable to be enshrined in Washington
Franklin G. Dix was a constable on duty at a Gates Town Board meeting back in 1932.

When the 27-year-old Dix stooped over, his service firearm fell out of his pocket and went off. Dix was struck in the abdomen and died the next day at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Dix remains the only Gates law enforcement officer to have died in the line of duty. Soon, he will be recognized and honored both in Gates and at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“He paid the price for being a public servant. Unfortunately, no one knows about him,” said Gates Town Historian and retired Gates police officer Bill Gillette, who was behind the efforts. “It’s well overdue to pay respect to him. It’s an honor to pay respect to a fellow comrade.”

On May 7, the Badge of Honor Association will install a road sign to commemorate Dix on Wegman Road, just north of the intersection of Buffalo Road. The 1932 tragic accident occurred in the nearby home of then-Town Clerk Mary Harrington, as was the custom then. The home has since been torn down.

Mary Rowena Pixley Harrington, Gates town clerk from 1921 to 1949, succeeded her husband Charles A. Harrington to the position upon his death. Meetings were held in her home on Wegman Road. It was in her home that the accident occurred and Constable Dix sustained the bullet wound.

On May 13, Dix’s name will be enshrined in the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The event will be held as part of a candlelight vigil during National Police Week. A contingent of bicyclists from the Rochester area, led by Gates Police Investigator Joshua Bowman, will depart from the Gates ceremony and head there.

Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode also called the recognition “long overdue.” In a release, VanBrederode said town meetings were held in private homes from the time Gates was founded in 1813 until the 1940s.

The town employed constables, or peace officers, before a police department was established.

“The constable was required to be in attendance at the meetings, especially because of the amount of cash held by the town clerk, which she received from residents who came to her home to pay their taxes,” VanBrederode said in the release. “The historical record about Constable Dix’s service and the fatal injury he sustained while on duty clearly documents his service and the details of his death.”

Researching history

Gillette came across the historical record while doing research for a book on the Gates Police Department’s history. He took the information to Town Board members, who encouraged him to move forward.

Connecting with family

As he continued researching, Gillette came across Dix’s son, who lives in South Carolina, and Dix’s daughter, who lives in Spencerport.

“That turned into a family reunion,” Gillette said with a chuckle. They and other family members will be at both the Gates and Washington ceremonies. Gates also will send eight officers to Washington, along with VanBrederode and Gillette.

A local sign dedication will be held at 11 a.m. May 7 on Wegman Road, just north of the Buffalo Road intersection. The Police Unity Bicycle Tour will depart from there and head to the events in Washington, D.C., where the candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. May 13 on the National Mall as part of National Police Week.

Police Officer - retired
New York Police Department

May 6, 2018

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