Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sheriff David L. Clabaugh

Panola County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Thursday, December 6, 1979

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Reflections for Sheriff David L. Clabaugh

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

December 31, 2019

He was one of my father’s best friends and he had a big impact on my life. He was a rancher with property on the west side of the county and I often would go out there with family or sometimes by myself to help him chop down thistles or bale hay. Clabaugh was, at different times, the Fire Marshall, the local Post Master, and his final position as County Sheriff.
Poignantly, he had submitted a letter in the local paper in late 1979 to announce that he was not going to run again as sheriff. A few days later, he was killed in the line of duty in a helicopter accident while searching for a fugitive on Dec 6th. I was a junior in high school and it was devastating for our family and many others.

Mark Bauer

June 3, 2019

Thank you for giving your brave service to the citizens of Panola County. May your memory live on.

j hall/dispatcher
Dallas County Constable's Office

June 21, 2010

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

February 20, 2008

When I was a kid, David would come by my house (when he was delivering the mail) and ask me if I wanted to go to the fire meeting, or if a fire was going on at the time , he'd ask me what I thought it was. It was the days of the old fire siren, and before pagers/plectrons. He was a good guy. My brother is named after him..

James E. Chadwick Jr.
Arlington Fire Dept.

July 19, 2006

Though I didn't know him I'd like to say to the family of Sheriff David Clabaugh that he is not forgotten. I thank him for his dedication and sacrifice.

Patrolman D.E. Hutchison
Irving Police Department, Texas, retired.

April 6, 2005

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