Patrolman Vinton E. Harsh

Patrolman Vinton E. Harsh

Dayton Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch Sunday, October 13, 1918

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Vinton E. Harsh

Patrolman Vinton Harsh succumbed to complications of Spanish Influenza while enforcing health orders and operating ambulances due to the outbreak of Spanish Influenza in Dayton.

Dayton City Police Officers had been ordered to close saloons that violated health orders, man ambulances, keep crowds from gathering, and remove corpses. More than 700 citizens died from Spanish Influenza between October 1918 and January 1919. As a result of stopping the spread of the flu and maintaining order in the city of Dayton, many members of the Dayton City Police Department became ill with the flu, and six officers died.

Patrolman Harsh served with the Dayton Police Department for less than three years. He was survived by his wife and one child.

Effects of Spanish Flu on Law Enforcement

From 1918 to early 1919, the Spanish Flu pandemic infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed approximately 675,000 Americans. Many officers contracted this virus due to the requirements of their job.

The names of every officer who died in the line of duty from the Spanish Flu will likely never be known, but ODMP researchers continue to uncover new cases as part of our mission to never forget the fallen.

Please click here to view ODMP's Spanish Flu memorial listing all known fallen officers from the pandemic.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 2 years, 7 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Wednesday, October 9, 1918

communicable disease, Spanish Influenza

Most Recent Reflection

View all 2 Reflections

Ptl. Harsh, the hell you went through has been revisited 100 years later. Though precautions were taken both then and now, many lives were lost, and may of those lives were taken from those working to help the sick.

We honor you and all those who went before and know, your sacrifice, though mirrored many years later, was not in vain.

God Bless and may you forever Rest in Peace, Brother.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Department

July 4, 2022

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