Correctional Officer Robert J. Conkle

Correctional Officer Robert J. Conkle

Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois

End of Watch Saturday, July 22, 1978

Robert J. Conkle

Correctional Officer Robert Conkle, Lieutenant William Thomas and Correctional Officer Stanley Cole were killed during a riot at the Pontiac Correctional Center.

Around 9:00 am, about 500 inmates were returning to their cells in the North Cell House when a riot erupted. The inmates set fire to several buildings in the complex resulting in an estimated $4 million in damages. Lieutenant Thomas and Correctional Officer Conkle were stabbed with shanks numerous times shortly after the riot began. Correctional Officer Cole was stabbed with a screwdriver.

Correctional center staff and Illinois State Police troopers were able to restore order and return the inmates to their cells 11 hours later. Seventeen inmates were charged with the murders of the correctional officers, but none were convicted.

Correctional Officer Conkle was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the Illinois Department of Corrections for only two months.


  • Age 22
  • Tour 2 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Stabbed
  • Weapon Edged weapon; Shank
  • Offender Acquitted

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Conkle,
I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but for our Country as well when you served with the U.S. Army as a Paratrooper in the 82nd "All American" Airborne Division. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Airborne All The Way!

United States Border Patrol

July 22, 2017

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