Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Randolph E. Brightwell

Howard County Police Department, Maryland

End of Watch Monday, May 29, 1961

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Reflections for Police Officer Randolph E. Brightwell

Slain Howard County Police Officer honored for making the ultimate sacrifice 60 years ago

Posted on Sunday, May 30th 2021
Fox 5 News

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WBFF) - A slain Howard County police officer and World War II veteran was honored Saturday for making the ultimate sacrifice six decades ago.

“We’re commemorating the 60th anniversary of the line of duty death of Officer Randy Brightwell,” said Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers.

Howard County Police, the Howard County Retired Officers Association, and many others gathered for a wreath laying ceremony to remember Howard County Police Officer Randolph Brightwell.

Brightwell was shot during a traffic stop in Ellicott City in 1961.

He was the first officer from the department to die in the line of duty.

“As police officers we are tasked with keeping peace and he did that. He gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life protecting the citizens of Howard County,” said Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers.

Brightwell was a K9 officer with the department.

His son Randolph Jr. was just a baby when he was killed.

He was taken aback by all who gathered to remember his father Saturday.

“You know nobody had to be here today and I appreciate it so much and it just tells you how important it is,” he said.

Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers says it’s important the department always remember him.

“It is just always an honor to be able to acknowledge that great work, mourn with the family, and let them know they’ll never be forgotten,” she said.

It’s a sentiment his son says is more important now than ever before.

“I pray for everyone to come safely home to their families at night. It’s something I thought about my entire life because my father didn’t come home, so I always think and pray for those now that they will be safe,” he said.

Retired Police Officer

May 30, 2021

Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice is one that will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

May 29, 2021

I salute you Randy.. A true hero protecting the citizens of Howard County.

Asst. Chief of Police Paul Smith
Bridgewater Borough Pa.

August 26, 2020

Tonight has been one of those evenings when I look at old family photos and newspaper clippings and wonder what might have been. I was barely past my first birthday when my father was taken from us, but he will never be forgotten. Thank you to everyone who continue to honor his memory. I particularly want to thank those of you who currently or previously put their life in danger to serve and protect your community.

Randy Brightwell Jr.

April 26, 2020

Thinking about you on this day. May you RIP. God Bless

Paul Steppe
Retired, HCPD

May 30, 2017

Our German Shepherd, Prince was trained to be a police dog after we were unable to train him ourselves. He had bitten a neighbor, so it was decided to try this angle. He was then given to Officer Brightwell. Prince was in his cruiser when this happened. My brother and I remember when this wonderful man passed.

The Dunstan kids from Stansbury Mill Rd., Monkton, MD
October 15, 2016

Eleanor Dunstan Davis - no rank
no agency

October 16, 2016

Although I was only seven when you were so brutally murdered, I heard the news and couldn't believe it. We were a small rural county and things like that never happened here. Years later, I joined HCPD and always remembered, that although we were a small rural county, things like that could happen. God bless you and I hope your family has found the peace that the so much deserve.

Ed Puls Retired HCPD
Howard County, MD POlice Dept

May 29, 2016

Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
GOD Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito

May 29, 2015

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 51rst 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 who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace.

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

May 29, 2012

Dear Uncle Randy:
I can't believe it is going on 50 years. You left a great legacy and would be proud of how much the Department has grown. Our K-9 unit continues to set the standards and you and Prince are always, reverently remembered. I will visit you on the 29th. Hope you and Dad are behaving yourselves

Paul Steppe

May 6, 2011

Officer Brightwell...growing up about 1/2 mile from where you moved on to God's hand, I never quite understood the whole story and circumstances that led to your passing. I want to thank you very much for your dedicated service to protect citizens like me and my family from the criminal element. Growing up, I knew your story was something etched into my dad's mind...he always seemed to slow up a little when we passed Fels if he were reflecting back and wishing that terrible day never happened. Only later in life did I learn that the other gentleman who was senselessly murdered was working a shift that my dad normally worked. Mr. Gallion asked to work the shift so he could get to another job the next day. I know my dad was always haunted by what happened that night and felt as though if he were working behind that counter he may have been able to stop what happened. I hope your family (as well as Mr. Gallion's) has lived a productive and happy life. God Bless You sir!


June 28, 2009

Uncle Randy:
Although I was a young boy when you passed I remember you vividly. I especially remember the rides in the police car with you and Dad, and how close the two of you were. Your influence carried me through my career and you died doing a job you loved.I hope you know how much everyone appreciated all you did, everyday. I am sure you and Dad are now teammates again causing both trouble and laughter. I miss and honor you both. People should never forget that you were the first K-9 officer of any county law enforcement agency within Maryland and a WWII hero as well.

Sgt. Paul Steppe (Retired)

May 29, 2008

Today I went to the Memorial Ceremony, it was to honor both yourself and all the other Fallen Heroes. I continue to pray for your family and friends. Please know that you have not been forgotten. I know you are with the Angels far in the Heavens above. God Bless!

Police Dispatcher Sara Singleton
Howard County Maryland Police Communications 911 Center

May 9, 2008

Officer Brightwell,
Although you passed well before I was ever thought of, I would like to thank you for your service and your sacrifice. My grandfather, one of you fellow officers at the time recently passed and I know that he is in a better place with you watching over me. I know you watched over him as he carried on after you passed, and you both are inspiration for me to become a police officer as well.

Thank you,
Robert McHenry

Robert McHenry (citizen)

February 4, 2008

I would like to thank you for your service and dedication. You are a true hero. I pray for your family and fellow officers. I am sorry that our justice system let you down. These guys should be in prison. Thanks again Officer Brightwell.


August 4, 2007

You have not been forgotten! Only finding this site due to the most recent death of Cpl Scott A. Wheeler, I take this time to honor and thank you. My prayers are with your family and friends.You gave the ultimate sacrifice, and I know you were standing at the gates, as the Angels carried Scott up into the heavens above, where as I know you both are 10-4 forever in Gods peaceful love. "A Hero does not become a Hero by their death, but by how they lived their life." God Bless!

Police Dispatcher Sara Singleton
Howard County Police Communications 911 Center

June 29, 2007


Thank you for your service and all that you did for me as a citizen of Howard County who was only 12 years old when you died. I still recall that day when I learned of your death. Later, after I became a Howard County Police Officer, your untimely death became much more personal for me. Again, I thank you.

Tim Porter Sgt. Retired
Howard County Police Department

June 26, 2007

As I reflect today on the recent loss of Pfc. Scott Wheeler, I also take a moment to remember the sacrifice that you made. You have been gone for many years, but you are not forgotten.

Lt. Tim Branning (Retired)
Howard County Police Dept.

June 25, 2007

Randolph, We have not forgotten your sacrifice & Service.

Please be with Scott as he now joins with you brother. Scott, I'm sure, will catch you up on how things have changed in Howard County, how big the department has gotten and of course he will give you a lession on the Raider Nation. You both will be forever remembered as our Hero's, and Our Fallen Brotheren.

Fellow Officer
Howard County Police Dept.

June 22, 2007


Please look after Scott Wheeler. You will both always be with us. Heaven now has two of Howard County's finest.


June 20, 2007

Sir, 46 years later we say thank you for your sacrifice. You will never be forgotten and may your assailants meet another, much higher verdict some day.

Cpl/1 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police

May 29, 2007

Officer Brightwell,
On today, the 45th anniversary of your murder, I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Howard County. It's a travesty of justice that the pieces of scum who murdered you served only sixteen years in prison for your murder, armed robbery and murder of the store clerk.



May 29, 2006

Officer Brightwell, as a citizen of Howard County Maryland I want to thank you for your service and sacrifice. You shall never be forgotten. Rest in peace Sir.

A citizen

May 12, 2006

On behalf of the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association, I would like to express our deepest regards and sympathy to the family, friends and fellow officers of Officer Randolph Brightwell. You gave the ultimate sacrifice. Randolph, you may be gone, but you will NEVER be forgotten. Rest in peace blue angel and thank you for your service.

James A. Cortina

Connecticut Police Work Dog Association

February 12, 2004

Earlier this year I remember two people I know telling me about you, after they talked to me about my interest in becoming a police officer. They said that you were a good man and talked about how tragic it was that you were killed doing a regular traffic stop. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. It will be an honor for me to wear a badge that so many officers like you have given their lives for. You fought the good fight.

Former Police Explorer, MD

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