Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman Kenneth W. "Red" Vandergrift

Phillipsburg Police Department, New Jersey

End of Watch Thursday, November 20, 1930

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Reflections for Patrolman Kenneth W. "Red" Vandergrift

A video in commemoration of the 90th Anniversary of Red death.

An article and photos of the ceremony.

Tim Wynkoop
Noto-Wynkoop Funeral Home

December 1, 2020

Phillipsburg police to mark 90 years since officer was killed on duty

Posted Nov 19, 2020 NJ.Com news

Phillipsburg police, present and past, will commemorate on Friday the 90th anniversary of the death of the town’s only officer killed in the line of duty.

Kenneth “Red” Vandegrift is buried in Stewartsville Presbyterian Cemetery, where a service is planned. However, it is closed to the public due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic, police Chief Robert Stettner said Wednesday.

Police are planning a vehicle procession to the cemetery starting at 10:30 a.m. from police headquarters in the former Andover Morris School, 712 S. Main St. Roads will remain open except for when the officers are passing through.

“We want to warn the public that they’re going to see a number of police vehicles in a procession,” Stettner told “It’s a shame we can’t do it like we would really want to with the public involved, with the restrictions.”

The route goes north on South Main Street over the former Black Bridge, renamed in 2004 in Vandegrift’s memory, before turning east to Stewartsville in Greenwich Township. A plaque put up in 2003 on the bridge memorializes Vandegrift’s “bravery and devotion to duty in sacrificing his own life on November 20th, 1930 while protecting and serving the citizens of Phillipsburg, New Jersey.”

It was three days prior, Nov. 17, when Vandegrift was mortally wounded.

He was shot while responding to a domestic violence call at 350 Chambers St.

That night, 42-year-old Robert McClement forced his wife and son out of their home at that address and threatened their lives with a gun. When Vandegrift responded, he went into the home and up the stairs to the third floor where a drunken McClement was hiding.

As Vandegrift mounted the second step on the second floor, McClement fired a rifle at him. The bullet entered Vandegrift’s right breast, went through his body then exited under his armpit.

A few minutes later, while fellow officers were tending to Vandegrift, McClement turned the gun on himself. He died instantly of a gunshot wound to the head.

Vandegrift spent three days in the former Warren Hospital before he died, leaving behind a wife and a 7-year-old daughter. He was 35.

A second Phillipsburg police officer, Sgt. Dominick Jiorle, would die in the line of duty May 26, 1963. He was not killed, however, and instead suffered a fatal heart attack while responding to a liquor store burglary.

Friday’s service will feature the police department’s honor guard established in 2018 for occasions such as this, said town police Sgt. James McDonald.

“Sacrifices are made on a daily basis from officers all over the country,” McDonald said Wednesday, “and some of them are physical, through injury or pain, and some are mental — mental anguish from the job. And on really grim occasions, they sacrifice their lives.

“So we look at it, it’s our duty to honor the sacrifices and pay tribute to our heroes so that the younger officers and future ones know how they died but more importantly how they lived.”

Retired Police Officer

November 19, 2020

You will never be forgotten sir, RIP.

Military Police Officer Anonymous Anonym
Army National Guard

November 21, 2015

Your heroism and service is honored today, the eighty-second anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Read more:

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

April 10, 2012

You are now joined in Heaven with your daughter, Geraldine, who lived through your tragedy 80 years ago today 11/17/1930. It was an honor to commemorate your service and sacrifice to the Town of Phillipsburg; and to get to know your family.

Godspeed to you both Brother Vandegrift!

Lieutenant Shawn J. Carmody #277
Phillipsburg Police Department

November 17, 2010



April 1, 2008

Rest in Peace Sir

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

November 29, 2007

Rest in peace my brother, we got it from here.

Kevin T Ryan
Ex- New Jersey Cop

November 20, 2007

As sad as it is to read your story and how you made the ultimate sacrifice, it does my heart good to know that so many years later you were not only remembered, but honored and your daughter was able to take part in that celebration. I hope your grandchildren and great grandchildren and family members beyond always remember you and honor you as your fellow law enforcement officers will. Thank you always for a truly heroic sacrifice and for your service to the state of NJ and this Country. Rest in peace sir.

Cpl/1 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police

November 20, 2006

…For the sake of others!

The uniform we wear, the weapon we tote
In this selected job, we have not even a vote

We answer our calls, all fear put aside
Approaching the bad guy, with courage and pride

In a blink of an eye, a weapon is out
A bullet is fired before you can shout

The movements are slow; you feel no pain
Because of your courage, they will gain

A family in safety, because you were there
You put them first; swallowing your fear

you took a step and the bullet the same
you fall to the ground, calling HIS name

Your Brothers kneel, they tell you to rest
As they keep pressure on your gaping chest

They hold your hand, and look in your eye
They whisper softly, please don’t die

You take a breath, long and slow
They hold you tight; they won’t let go

Their tears are falling onto your face
Time is short; they try to race

In vain their efforts; your time has come
No shame in crying, some feel numb

Time heals wounds and memories drift
But we will always honor Brother Vandegrift.

By Shawn J. Carmody

Ofc. Shawn J Carmody
Phillipsburg Police Department

July 19, 2004

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