Substitute Patrolman Clifford L. Cornish

Substitute Patrolman Clifford L. Cornish

Cincinnati Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch Monday, September 14, 1925

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Clifford L. Cornish

Patrolman Clifford Cornish was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a bootlegger and drug smuggler.

On September 13, Patrolman Cornish was walking the two-man beat alone because his partner took leave that day. A program was at that time in effect to assure each policeman one off day a month .

Patrolman Cornish and his partner had been working on cleaning up the Clark and Harriet Streets corner of its bootleggers and narcotics dealers. He attempted to clear the corner of several loungers.

Most of the loiterers moved on, but a bootlegger, drug peddler, and, at the time, an escaped prisoner from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, refused to comply. As Patrolman Cornish approached, the bootlegger swung at him and Patrolman Cornish sidestepped the punch and knocked him to the ground. The bootlegger pulled a .38 caliber revolver and fired five times at Patrolman Cornish, striking him once through the visor of his cap just above his left eye. Patrolman Cornish's sidearm was still holstered. A bystander, David Jones, was shot in the left hip. The bootlegger ran down an alley and escaped. Patrolman Cornish was transported to General Hospital .

Major Eugene T. Weatherly and Lieutenants Seebohm and Venn questioned those standing by at the scene, but were almost universally told that the witness did not see what happened .

Patrolman Cornish died the next day, September 14, becoming the sixth officer killed in the Fifth District in five years.

Two days after the shooting, Detectives McShane and Hayes received information regarding the bootlegger, and, along with Detective Chief Kirgan and Detectives Fricke, Hall, Ecker, Odensass,and Seebohm they surrounded the house where the bootlegger was hiding. They were able to apprehend the bootlegger and found the weapon used in the shooting of Patrolman Cornish, but he was found not guilty during trial.

Patrolman Cornish had served with the agency for only three months, but had previously served with the United States Army for six years (including World War I in the Coast Artillery). He was survived by his wife, father, and brother, and step-brother and is buried at Vine Street Hill Cemetery.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 3 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Apprehended

Most Recent Reflection

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NEVER FORGET! On behalf of the Ohio Attorneys General Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, we honor the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifice of Substitute Patrolman Clifford L. Cornish of the Cincinnati Police Department, Ohio and the additional 81 American Peace Officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on this date in history.

Superintendent Joe Morbitzer
Ohio Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation

September 14, 2021

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