Chief of Police Thomas Clifford Dillon

Chief of Police Thomas Clifford Dillon

Bethel Police Department, Alaska

End of Watch Sunday, November 19, 1972

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Thomas Clifford Dillon

Chief of Police Thomas Dillon was shot and killed after responding to a holdup at a local cab company in downtown Bethel.

When he arrived on the scene, he exchanged shots with the suspect, who was armed with a shotgun. Chief Dillon was struck in the chest and fatally wounded. He was able to wound the suspect, who was later apprehended by other officers.

The suspect was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life. On November 4th, 1977, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution had withheld evidence from the defense and overturned the conviction. In the second trial, he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years. He was paroled on January 12th, 1978.

Chief Dillon had served with the Bethel Police Department for 2-1/2 years. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 2 years, 6 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Paroled in 1978


Most Recent Reflection

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I was gone when this horrible part of my hometowns history happened. I still get sad thinking about it. Tom Dillon was so respected and his wife Elizabeth is alive and beloved today. We named one of our parks Dillon Park to honor his service to our community. Cherish the memories of his young life.

Beverly Hoffman
community member

November 19, 2022

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