City of Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Police Memorial: History
History of the Alexandria Police Department
The history of law enforcement in Alexandria, Virginia is as rich as that of the city itself. Located on the Potomac River, just outside of Washington, D.C., Alexandria is considered the hometown of George Washington and Robert E. Lee. It has evolved from an 18th-century seaport town to a struggling community that was home to both the railroad and waterfront industries to a thriving city that values its historic resources, high-tech companies, and diverse population.
Alexandria, twice named an All-America City, has fallen under different flags in its 250-plus-year history, first under England before the American Revolution, then from 1801 to 1847 under Washington, D.C., and finally under Virginia. By 1797, it had organized a full night watch with watchmen paid $150 annually, who, according to a town council action, were “to patrol and take charge of such disorderly and suspicious persons.” Constables and later policemen were responsible for law enforcement during daylight hours, and this system continued until the Civil War.
Alexandria rejoined the commonwealth in 1847, and when Virginia seceded in 1861, Alexandria, as part of the confederacy, was quickly occupied by Union forces that remained throughout the war. Following Reconstruction, Virginia rejoined the Union, and Alexandria's police force was reorganized. On July 15, 1870, city leaders ended the night watch system, dismantled the daylight police force, and formally authorized the creation of the Alexandria Police Department. By the end of the month, a captain, lieutenant, and 19 policemen were on duty.
Police in the riverfront town faced challenges ranging from petty thieves to drunken sailors to the occasional murder. The police station, jail, and court were housed on North Fairfax Street in the present-day city hall. At the station house, the senior officer kept an activity log and recorded arrests, weather conditions, and criminal offenses. Death sentences were carried out nearby, with hangings in 1873 and 1908. In 1897, a lynch mob overtook the station, removed a prisoner, and killed him at the corner of King and Fairfax Streets.
By the early 1900s, Alexandria, a few dozen streets blocked in a grid, looked toward expansion. In 1915 and 1930, the city annexed the railroad communities of St. Elmo, Rosemont, and Potomac from Arlington and soon doubled in size. Police needed mororized vehicles to reach the residential area today known as Del Ray, and the department hired more officers to serve the outlying area. Police were tasked with enforcing Prohibition laws, and as road accidents resulted in more injuries and deaths, traffic safety became a priority.
In the 1930s, the department took major steps to improve and professionalize itself and its services. It implemented a system to photograph suspects and record their physical attrributes. The commanders also opened a week-long training program that all recruits would be required to pass before joining the force. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, radios installed in scout cars improved communication between headquarters and officers, though most policemen remained on foot patrol and relied on call boxes. By the mid-1940s, the department established quick communication with District police and other agencies through a radio system and Teletype machine.
In 1952, Alexandria expanded again, annexing an eight-square-mile tract to the west from Fairfax County. Though sparsely populated, the West End required a significant increase in police power and resources. The number of patrol cars soon surpassed the motorcycle fleet, and the department quickly outgrew the old station house on North Fairfax. In May 1959, the department moved to 400 North Pitt Street, its new headquarters with holding cells, a radio room, roll-call space, a parking lot and its own gas pumps.
New tactics emerged, and a canine unit was established in 1959 and yielded immediate results with the capture of felons and rescues of lost children. Efforts to professionalize police service continued, and though new officers were receiving a week of training in Richmond, the need for stronger education was clear. In 1965, Alexandria joined the Arlington and Fairfax County police departments in opening the Northern Virginia Police Acadmey in Fairfax. All new officers began receiving intensive and consistent training in basic criminal law, physical fitness, search and arrest techniques, firearms use, emergency vehicle operation, and traffic safety.
The 1960s in Alexandria saw both the positive change of the civil rights movement and the emergence of drug abuse and increased street cirme. When racial issues caused sporadic crowd distrurbances, the department established a community relations team dedicated to improving communication between the police and minorities. With a rise in vice-related crimed in Alexandria's downtown district, police worked to shut down gambling operations, unlicensed wine houses, and illegal massage parlors. Soon gun violence was taking its toll, and the annual homicide rate routinely reached double digits.
In the 1970s, the department organized a group of officers with special tactical training. Equipped with high-powered weapons and protective helmets, the Special Operations Team was deployed to critical incidents like hostage situtations. Improvements came to communications with the implementation of the 911 emergency number and computer-aided dispatching in the 1980s.
Alexandria's population grew significantly, especially in the West End, where high-rise apartments soon became home to thousands. The force had grown from 80 officers in 1952 to 180 by 1970 and to 347 sworn and civilian employees by 1983. Plans to build a new, modern police headquarters began in the ealy 1980s, and the location on Mill Road, outside of Old Town, ensured adequate parking for the growing fleet of cruisers. In 1987, the police department moved into its third headquarters in a complex that houses the city detention center and the sheriff's office.
In the 1980s and 1990s, technology greatly enhanced police service through 911, computer-aided dispatch, and improved crime databases. When the devastation and violence of the crack cocaine epidemic hit Alexandria, police used undercover detectives and remote surveillance to target dealers. The need for police in the community yielded a new approach in which officers were assigned full-time to at-risk neighborhoods and, in some cases, police officers moved into public housing, living as both neighbors and protectors.
Through innovative tactics, high-visibility patrols, crime prevention efforts, and community outreach, serious crime fell steadily. Today Alexandrians enjoy a high quality of life, thanks largely to the work of their police officers. With more than 450 officers and civilian employees, the Alexandria Police Department is again planning to move to a new headquarters, expected to be built in the center of the city within the next 10 years.
The Alexandria Police Association, established in 1927, takes tremendous pride in the dedication of its members and their service to the people of Alexandria. It is much honored to share the history of the Alexandria Police Department through photographs, artifacts, and the experiences of its members.
This information is taken from the introduction of the publication "Images of America: Alexandria Police Department," Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
Over the years, the Alexandria Police Department has lost seventeen members in the line of duty:
Constable Elijah Chenault • August 4, 1823
Constable Elijah Chenault, 1823
On August 4, 1823, Constable Elijah Chenault was attempting to seize property from Elizabeth Williams when she resisted. They began to struggle and in defense, the constable struck her with a sword cane but it had little effect, and she was able to get the sword away from the constable. Then she grabbed a wooden stick and struck him on the head with it. The blow was fatal, killing Constable Chenault within minutes.
Williams was arrested and taken to jail. She was indicted for murder and in November, a jury convicted her of manslaughter. She was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $85. Constable Chenault had served for 14 years. He was survived by his wife Elizabeth and several children. His final resting place is unknown.
Constable Chenault’s murder is the earliest known line of duty death of a law enforcement officer in Virginia.
During the early 1800s, Alexandria had both policemen and night watchmen. Watchmen had arrest powers and were authorized law enforcement officers, earning $150 a year to patrol designated wards from 10 p.m. to daybreak. On March 20, 1817, the Alexandria Common Council elected Gerrard Arnold and ten others as watchmen to serve one-year terms. Watchman Arnold was re-elected each year for the next ten years.
Watchman Arnold was born around 1780 and was a shoemaker by trade. He and his wife Elizabeth lived in a two-story house on Queen Street near North Patrick Street. They had several children before Elizabeth died.
In 1827, Watchman Arnold was attempting to make an arrest at a home along the waterfront. As he approached the house, he encountered a woman trying to enter the same residence. He shoved her aside so that he could enter and continue with his lawful duties. The woman was outraged by this treatment and told her husband, Willis Anderson, how the watchman had treated her. Watchman Arnold later apologized to Anderson for offending his wife.
However Anderson became drunk and retaliated against Watchman Arnold. On August 30, 1827, Anderson found Watchman Arnold in a business and brutally attacked him, beating and kicking him. Watchman Arnold was critically wounded and succumbed to his injuries on September 9, 1827. Anderson fled from Alexandria and President John Quincy Adams issued a proclamation offering a $250 reward for his capture. In October, Anderson was captured in Ohio and returned to Alexandria. In November, he was tried for murder and convicted of manslaughter. His sentence is not known but he was fined $300.
Watchman Arnold was survived by his children. His final resting place is unknown.
Julian F. Arnold was born on May 18, 1847, and as a young man, worked as a tailor in Alexandria. At the age of 15 he enlisted in the Confederacy. He served under General Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War and spent two months in confinement, a prisoner of war. On August 13, 1870, he became an Alexandria police officer, less than one month after the department’s official founding.
Just before midnight on May 14, 1887, Officer Arnold and Officer Joseph Martin overheard two men planning a robbery of a saloon located at 1414 King Street. The saloonkeeper, Sefer Blouse, was known to keep lots of money at his establishment and that week’s receipts were especially high because a circus had just come to town.
Officers Arnold and Martin enlisted two citizens to assist them. They discussed their plans, and Officers Martin and one citizen went to warn Blouse of the robbery. Officer Arnold and citizen Ernest Padgett returned to the fairgrounds, near where the suspects had been overheard earlier. They came upon the two men in a circus ring. As Officer Arnold announced the arrest, both suspects began firing. Officer Arnold returned fire, but had already been shot in the torso. The suspects fled, and Officer Arnold was taken to Blouse’s establishment. He died at 2:15 a.m. on May 15, 1887.
One suspect was arrested that night and a second, Billy Williams, was apprehended a month later. The first suspect was acquitted, but Williams was convicted. He served five years in prison for Officer Arnold’s murder.
Officer Arnold, three days from his 40th birthday, was survived by his pregnant wife Jennie, and his four children, Robert, Julia, Arthur and Julian. His daughter May was born four months after his murder. He is buried at Methodist Protestant Cemetery in Alexandria.
George W. Crump was born in Virginia in 1848. In his early years, he worked as a fireman on the Washington and Ohio Railroad. Later he worked for Smoot Lumber and became a member of the Friendship Fire Company. In 1891, he joined the police department. Officer Crump was described as an “efficient and trustworthy” officer, “well-known and liked by everybody.” He received recognition in April of 1893 for arresting a robber wanted in Prince George’s County.
After 3 a.m. on October 28, 1893, Officer Crump and Officer Gayton Arrington were returning to headquarters after a call for disorderly subjects. They joined a third officer, James McCuen, who was on duty at the police station, then housed at City Hall. They sat around the stove and between 4 and 5 a.m., Officer McCuen dozed off.
Suddenly, Officer McCuen jumped up. Still half-dazed, he drew his pistol and fired it at Officer Crump. The round struck Officer Crump in the left knee. Officer Arrington observed Officer McCuen cocking the pistol again and immediately grabbed his arm and yelled. This woke Officer McCuen, who then realized what he had done. Officer Crump’s wound was tended to and he was driven to his home to recover.
At a mayoral inquiry, Officer McCuen stated he had dreamt a dog was coming at him and explained that he must have fired at the imaginary dog. He was suspended for 30 days for dereliction of duty and falling asleep.
Officer Crump’s injury proved to be very serious and because the round was lodged so deeply in his leg, doctors were unable to remove it. Infection set in and two months later, Officer Crump’s condition became grave. He died at his home just before 10 p.m. on December 28, 1893, at the age of 45.
Officer Crump was survived by his wife Emily and their five children. He is buried at Bethel Cemetery in Alexandria.
Walker W. Campbell was born in Virginia on January 28, 1869, and grew up in Charlottesville. He became an Alexandria police officer on December 1, 1910. He was considered a “brave and efficient officer” and one of the most “trustworthy” in the department.
Officer Campbell was one of ten officers who went on strike in 1918, demanding better pay. Those arrested by Officer Campbell included murderers and robbers, as well as poker players and owners of unmuzzled dogs. For a number of years, his son, William, worked with him, and the younger Campbell would one day become head of the department.
On February 14, 1919, Officer Campbell was working with Officer C.A. Padgett when around 2:15 a.m., they heard a disturbance at the corner of King and Washington streets. A man in a soldier’s uniform had taken a drink from a whiskey flask and then thrown the empty flask into the street. Both officers approached the man and placed him in custody.
They began to walk along the south side of King Street. They were between St. Asaph and Pitt streets when the prisoner, James H. Lawrence, pulled a pistol from his pocket. Both officers struggled with him, but Lawrence broke away from Officer Campbell’s grip. As Officer Padgett attempted to restrain him, Lawrence fired the gun, shooting Officer Campbell in the abdomen. Officer Campbell was taken to Alexandria Hospital where he died of his injuries at 7 p.m. on February 16, 1919.
Lawrence, age 24, had recently been discharged from the army and was working as a special police officer for the railroad at Potomac Yard. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to nine months in jail.
Officer Campbell, age 50, was survived by his wife Annie, and his two sons, William and Clarence. His widow would be the first in Alexandria to receive worker compensation benefits. He is buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Alexandria.
Elton B. Hummer was born in Loudoun on August 15, 1898, the youngest of four children of Alpheus and Clara Hummer. He grew up in present-day Sterling and worked there on the family farm. As an unmarried adult, he lived with his elderly parents at 806 Duke Street. On August 17, 1927, he became an Alexandria police officer.
Officer Hummer immediately enjoyed success at the police department and was promoted to the rank of sergeant on June 1, 1928. He played on the police baseball team and was described as “one of the most popular officers on the force."
As Sergeant Hummer began his midnight shift on August 18, 1928, he said goodnight to his parents and left his home. About an hour later, he was on foot in the same neighborhood, checking the outlying beats. He was literally just around the corner from his own home when he was shot.
Witnesses report hearing two men talking in the alley next to 224 South Alfred Street. They then heard one man warn the other in a raised voice that this was the "last time." Two shots rang out in close succession and a third followed. When neighbors ran to see what had happened, they found Sergeant Hummer critically injured on the pavement. Sergeant Hummer’s weapon was still near his hand and he was barely alive when neighbors reached him. He had been shot in the chest and groin, and when he arrived at Alexandria Hospital he was pronounced dead.
Some neighbors told police that after they heard gunfire, they saw a man running west on Duke Street, holding his side as though he were injured. Investigation concluded that Sergeant Hummer was shot twice with an automatic .45-caliber gun. He had managed to fire his weapon once. A massive manhunt ensued and all available resources, from an airplane to ballistic experts, were used to search for the assailant. But Sergeant Hummer’s murderer was never identified.
Sergeant Hummer, 30, was survived by his parents and brother, Milton. He is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria.
Charles R. McClary was born April 8, 1897, in Orange County, one of the oldest of more than a dozen children born to John and Viola McClary. He served in World War I, moved to Alexandria and married Nora Toombs. On December 21, 1925, he joined the Alexandria Police Department.
Charlie McClary, one of the most popular officers on the force, was promoted to sergeant on June 1, 1928. He served in the traffic unit on a motorcycle. His younger brother, Clarence, also joined the department though the two would not serve together long.
On June 20, 1929, around 9:05 p.m., Sergeant McClary and Sergeant Edgar Sims were investigating a liquor complaint at a residence in the 500 block of North Patrick Street. Sergeant Sims was at the rear and Sergeant McClary was in front when he saw a man emerge from the dark alley. The man pulled a gun and fired repeatedly at the officer, striking him once in the neck. The gunman then fled.
Sergeant Sims ran to the stricken officer, who said, “They got me.” Sergeant Sims put Sergeant McClary in a car and sped to Alexandria Hospital. They attempted to operate on him, but he was dead. His weapon still holstered, he never had a chance to defend himself.
The gunman was identified as William Kidd, who was also known as Kid Lilly and John Gaines. Kidd, 51, had been wanted for shooting a woman in Pittsylvania County, and Sergeant McClary had captured him three weeks earlier. But while being transported, Kidd escaped and returned to Alexandria, where he encountered Sergeant McClary and shot him. Nearly four years would pass before Kidd was captured and returned to Alexandria. On February 17, 1933, he pleaded guilty to killing Sergeant McClary and was sentenced to life in prison.
Sergeant McClary, 32, was survived by his wife Nora and their five children. He is buried at Bethel Cemetery in Alexandria.
Whitfield W. Lipscombe was born in Virginia on May 9, 1908. The son of a railroad worker, he grew up in Lynchburg where he lived with his sister, aunt, uncle and cousins. As a teen, he worked as a store clerk and in a shoe repair shop. He later moved to Alexandria where he lived with his father at the Scottish Rite Club on North Alfred Street. On August 2, 1929, he became an Alexandria police officer.
On the afternoon of September 4, 1930, Private Lipscombe was at the fire station in Potomac (present-day Del Ray), when an alarm sounded. The firefighters were called to a car and brush fire along Four Mile Run. When they set off in a new engine truck, Private Lipscombe jumped on the back to assist with directing traffic at the fire scene.
Engine No. 2 traveled north on the Washington-Richmond Highway (now U.S. Route 1) and was just approaching Four Mile Run when a truck cut in front. The firefighter driving the apparatus swerved to avoid a collision but the large fire truck overturned, wrecking in a ditch.
Private Lipscombe was struck by the hose and thrown from the fire truck, suffering a broken neck and fractured skull. He was transported to Alexandria Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival around 2:30 p.m. Three firefighters on the truck were also injured, but all survived. The truck that cut in front of the fire engine was not identified.
Private Lipscombe, age 22, was survived by his parents Harry and Nellie, three sisters and one brother. He is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg.
August Perault Pierce was born on August 21, 1898 in New London, Connecticut, and he later lived in Rhode Island. Known as "Auggie" to his family, he joined the Navy in 1917, during World War I, and served until 1924, with duties as a painter. He married and lived in the Arlington community of Lyon Park. On January 6, 1930, he became an Alexandria police officer and was known to his fellow officers as "Perry."
In the early morning of September 7, 1930, Private Pierce was patrolling the Alexandria-Washington Highway (present day U.S. Route 1), searching for a robbery suspect who was wanted for committing a number of hold-ups throughout that night.
Around 4:30 a.m., Private Pierce observed a man matching the suspect’s description near Four Mile Run. He asked a passing citizen to follow him and drove away, but when the citizen arrived, he found Private Pierce and a second man on the ground. He went to get help and both men were taken to Alexandria Hospital where Private Pierce was pronounced dead. The second man, shot multiple times, was still alive.
Investigation revealed that Private Pierce had confronted the suspect at a car barn. The two struggled and when the suspect displayed a .32-caliber gun, Private Pierce fired his weapon, striking the suspect. The suspect fired multiple times and one shot hit Private Pierce in the chest, severing the aorta. Police found both weapons and determined at least ten rounds had been fired in the fierce gunfight.
The suspect, Owen Wroten of Denmark, South Carolina, died the next day. He was believed to be in his late teens to early 20s. Witnesses identified him as the robber police were searching for. He was also suspected in the murders of two railroad police officers in the weeks before coming to Alexandria.
Private Pierce was 32 years old and was survived by his wife Marie, and a sister. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Clarence J. McClary was born June 21, 1906 and grew up in Orange County. In 1916, the large McClary family moved to Alexandria. Clarence married Lillie Rutherford and worked as a steam derrick operator. On October 1, 1927, he became an Alexandria police officer.
His older brother, Charlie, also an Alexandria officer, was killed in the line of duty less than two years after Clarence joined the department. But the junior McClary continued to serve and was promoted to corporal on January 1, 1932.
On March 17, 1935, Corporal McClary and eight other Alexandria officers joined a posse in Loudoun County. A moonshiner was wanted for shooting a federal agent. Dozens of police officers from around the region searched the hills south of Leesburg for Thomas “Devil Tom” Quisenberry, 56, and his stills. At daybreak, the posse split up and Corporal McClary’s group went to search near a still that had been found the day before.
In the hills along a farm south of Goose Creek, not far from the quarry, they saw the wanted man in the distance, with a rifle across his knees. The posse’s firepower was limited but Corporal McClary, a sharpshooter, was armed with a high-powered rifle. He and the fugitive exchanged shots as Corporal McClary ran into the open before reaching a barn. Steadying his rifle along a wire fence, Corporal McClary opened fire but missed his target. When Quisenberry drew his rifle and fired, the shot struck the officer in the stomach. Fatally wounded, Corporal McClary said, “He got me, now you get him.” He died minutes later at 6:45 a.m.
That afternoon, with more than 150 officers on his trail, Quisenberry, a convicted murderer and prison escapee, was captured. On July 1, 1935, he pleaded guilty to Corporal McClary’s murder and was sentenced to 20 years.
Corporal McClary, age 28, was survived by his wife Lillie, and their four children. He is buried at Bethel Cemetery in Alexandria.
Robert B. Harris was born on November 10, 1925, in Pantego, North Carolina, the son a plumber. In 1943, Bobby Harris joined the Air Force and served for three years including time in France. He returned to North Carolina and married his high school sweetheart. They joined his parents who were living in Del Ray, and he worked as a radio technician. But he wanted to be a police officer and on August 23, 1948, he was sworn in as an Alexandria officer.
On September 11, 1948, Private Harris and Private George Jordan were inspecting businesses along North Washington Street. At 2:45 a.m., Private Harris was checking the Howard Johnson’s at North Washington and Montgomery streets and Private Jordan went to check a nearby frozen custard stand. Private Jordan heard a gunshot and ran behind the Howard Johnson’s. He first went to chase the fleeing suspect but stayed with Private Harris upon seeing him in a pool of blood. Private Harris, shot in the groin with a major artery severed, was face down with his unfired weapon nearby. In his last words, Private Harris indicated which way the shooter had fled. Private Harris, an officer for less than three weeks, was taken to Alexandria Hospital and died moments later.
Investigators believed Private Harris had interrupted a burglar at the back door of the Howard Johnson’s when he was shot. Two witnesses had seen a man jump the fence behind the restaurant and run east on Madison Street. Officers from around the area searched for the killer but months passed before a suspect emerged.
A man in Richmond was overheard confessing to the crime. He was indicted but first faced prison for a murder elsewhere. On May 11, 1969, James W. Hunter, 47, was arrested for killing Private Harris. But at trial, his confession was ruled inadmissible and the charge was dismissed.
Private Harris, 22, was survived by his wife Elsie, their infant son Robert, his parents Roy and Leta, and a younger brother. He is buried at Yeatesville Cemetery in Pinetown, N.C.
Bobby G. Padgett was born on June 28, 1931, in Roanoke, Virginia. The son of Curtis and Ollie Padgett, he grew up in a large family, with two sisters and five brothers. He served in the Navy from 1948 to 1952, and then returned to Roanoke and worked in a factory. His brother, Russell, was a Roanoke police officer but Bob Padgett was attracted to Alexandria. On February 20, 1957, he became an Alexandria police officer.
Described as "quiet" and "mature," Private Padgett was well-liked by fellow patrol officers on Squad Three. He and his young family lived in Chinquapin Village where other new officers and military families made their homes.
Just past midnight on February 4, 1959, police were called to a home in the 100 block of South West Street. A man reported someone had entered his home and struck him with a rod. At 12:25 a.m., Private Padgett arrived on the scene and encountered the suspect, Harry Eugene Fuller, arguing with his estranged wife outside. As he tried to arrest him, Private Joseph Serafin arrived. There was a scuffle and both officers managed to get one of Fuller’s arms handcuffed. But Fuller, 29, broke free and knocked Private Padgett’s gun away.
Fuller grabbed the gun and shot Private Padgett twice. As the officer laid on the ground, Fuller struck him on the head with the pistol. Fuller and Private Serafin exchanged shots, each injuring the other. As Lieutenant Warren Zimmerman arrived, he observed Fuller attempting to flee. He chased him and arrested him three blocks away.
Private Padgett suffered a fractured skull and two gunshot wounds. He died when a bullet struck an artery. Private Serafin recovered, as did the suspect. Fuller was executed on June 30, 1960, for Private Padgett’s murder.
Private Padgett, 27, was survived by his wife Lucianne, daughter Faye, sons Allen and Neal, his mother and seven siblings. He is buried at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem, Va.
James W. Baber was born on June 12, 1911, in Alexandria. The son of Ashley and Bertie Baber, he attended Alexandria High School and later served for three years with the Alexandria Fire Department. He married Virginia Pitts and, living in Alexandria, they began a family. On October 1, 1935, he became an Alexandria police officer.
The young patrol officer, called “Bootie” by his friends and colleagues, was known for his good nature. Over the next 27 years, Bootie Baber enjoyed great success at the Alexandria Police Department, serving as a detective and then detective sergeant. In 1947, he was promoted to lieutenant and five years later, to captain. In 1960, he was named deputy inspector and oversaw traffic enforcement and operations.
A sports enthusiast himself, Deputy Inspector Baber was an integral part of the police youth camp in Kilmarnock, serving as director and later as president of the camp’s advisory board.
On October 19, 1962, Deputy Inspector Baber had just finished working at a high school football game. It was a busy Friday night, and Deputy Inspector Baber and another officer were looking for a man who had shot and killed someone at a Queen Street restaurant. While searching, Deputy Inspector Baber answered a call for an officer in trouble at Queen and North Fayette streets.
Private George A. Sellers had detained two subjects who were fighting and Deputy Inspector Baber seized one of them, a 17-year-old youth. The young man tried to break away and after a struggle, he was subdued. But Deputy Inspector Baber had a heart attack and collapsed. He was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m. at Alexandria hospital.
Deputy Inspector Baber, age 51, was survived by his wife and their sons, Patrick and Robert. He is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria.
Eugene Yoakum was born on December 18, 1932, in Speedwell, Tennessee. The son of Robert and Myrtle Yoakum, Eugene served in the Marine Corps from 1950 to 1954. He married and on April 9, 1954, he joined the Alexandria Police Department.
In his first year, Private Yoakum was cited for his bravery in a shoot-out with supermarket burglars. In 1960, he joined the Canine Corps, and with his German shepherd partner Mucho, became one of the first police dog teams in Alexandria. With a specially-equipped collar, Mucho learned to respond to radio commands. Private Yoakum and Mucho also received publicity for their robbery apprehensions in Alexandria and in nearby Fairfax County.
On September 27, 1964, just before 2 a.m., police went to the 2900 block of Seay Street for an assault call. The suspect, Fred Stull, had struck a man who lived at the same apartment complex. Private David Largen arrived and discovered that Stull, 24, had a gun and had been drinking. He called for back-up, and Private Yoakum and Mucho arrived, joined by Private Earl Caknipe.
Stull emerged from the apartment building with a knife in his one hand. The other hand remained behind his back. Private Yoakum tried to talk to the man, but suddenly Stull brought his hidden hand forward. He had a gun and he fired at Private Yoakum, hitting him in the chest. Private Yoakum drew his own weapon but could not return fire. Stull began shooting at the other officers who had sought cover behind a car. Both officers fired several shots and Stull was killed.
Mucho watched over his fatally injured partner until Private Yoakum was taken to Alexandria Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 2:20 a.m. Mucho was later given to the Yoakum family.
Private Yoakum, 34, was survived by his wife Elizabeth, and their children, Marion, Tyrone and Sharon. He is buried at National Memorial Park in Falls Church. Yoakum Parkway was named in his memory.
Conrad L. Birney was born in Philadelphia on August 9, 1932. He grew up in Alexandria, graduated from George Washington High School, and went on to serve four years in the Marine Corps. He returned to Northern Virginia and married. On April 4, 1956, he was sworn in as an Alexandria police officer.
Conrad Birney served as a patrol officer and in 1965, he became a detective. Detective Birney enjoyed his work in the juvenile section of the investigations bureau, helping to make a difference in the lives of young people.
In the early afternoon of December 27, 1972, Detective Birney was in his unmarked cruiser in the West End when a call for a bank alarm went out. Detective Birney was very close and responded to the bank at 4616 Kenmore Avenue. In plain clothes but carrying his police radio, Detective Birney began to enter the bank, passing through the first set of doors that led to the lobby. He and the robbers saw each other at the same time and as he reached for his weapon, one suspect forced the door against him, knocking him to the ground. Before he could draw his weapon, one of the bank robbers fired at him.
The shot struck Detective Birney in the left chest and as he fell, he drew his weapon. The suspects fled from the bank and Detective Birney was unable to return fire. He was taken to Alexandria Hospital and pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m.
Three Washington, D.C., men were later identified and on May 22, 1973, they were indicted for Detective Birney’s murder. In addition to their federal bank robbery convictions, each was convicted of first-degree murder. Mack Holland, a 23-year-old prison escapee, was sentenced to life in prison, Ralph Walker, 24, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and Percy Floyd, an escapee from Lorton, was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Detective Birney, 40, was survived by his wife Barbara, and their three children, Judy, Cheryl and Robert. He is buried at Mount Comfort Cemetery, just outside of Alexandria.
Charles W. Hill was born on February 22, 1949, and grew up on Long Island in Suffolk County, New York. As a teen, he met his future wife there, and shortly after they married, he became a New York City police officer. But New York City faced financial problems in the 1970s and when Chuck, as he was known to his family, was laid off, he found another job out of state. On August 2, 1976, he became an Alexandria police officer.
Charlie, as he was called by his fellow officers, worked as a patrol officer and soon in specialized positions, as a Field Training Officer and an Identification Technician. He joined the Special Operations Team, a tactical response unit, and in 1980, he became the firearms instructor at the police range. In January of 1982, he was promoted to corporal.
In the late afternoon of March 22, 1989, Corporal Hill was partnered with Officer Andrew M. Chelchowski when the Special Operations Team was called to the 300 block of Hopkins Court. Jamie M. Wise, a 34-year-old escapee from a Washington, D.C., halfway house, had taken hostages inside a home to collect a drug debt.
At 6:35 p.m., Wise emerged, holding a sawed-off shotgun to the head of a teenaged hostage. A police marksman fired and hit Wise. But Wise, high on drugs, fired twice before other officers opened fire. Wise was dead, but his two shots hit Corporal Hill in the head and Officer Chelchowski in the legs. Corporal Hill was taken to Washington Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead at 8:15 p.m.
The police range and a park in Del Ray were later named in honor of Corporal Hill.
Corporal Hill, age 40, was survived by his wife Virginia, their sons Charles and Robert, and his mother. His remains were cremated. A park in Del Ray was named in his memory.
Andrew M. Chelchowski was born on February 8, 1956, in Manhasset, New York. The son of a United Nations worker, Andy graduated from high school in Pakistan in 1974. He later attended Suffolk County Community College where he earned a degree in criminal justice. On June 8, 1977, he became an Alexandria police officer.
Officer Chelchowski worked as a Field Training Officer and in June of 1983, he became a member of the K-9 Unit. He also became a member of the Special Operations Team and as part of the tactical unit, responded to drug raids, hostage-takings and barricades.
On March 22, 1989, Officer Chelchowski and Corporal Charles W. Hill were partners on the Special Operations Team when they responded to a hostage situation in the 300 block of Hopkins Court. The hostage taker, Jamie M. Wise, had escaped from a halfway house in Washington, D.C., and was at the home in Alexandria to collect a drug debt.
Wise, 34, emerged from the residence with one hostage, holding a shotgun to the youth’s head. A police marksman fired and struck Wise. But before he was incapacitated, Wise, high on drugs, managed to fire twice. The first round killed Corporal Hill and the second struck Officer Chelchowski in the legs. Police opened fired again, and Wise was killed.
Officer Chelchowski endured months of recovery and rehabilitation. He returned to light-duty status later that year and assumed his full duties, with his K-9 partner, in 1991. He remained in that assignment until his death in Prince William County on the morning of July 29, 1993.
Officer Chelchowski, 37, was survived by his wife Sherry, a former Alexandria police officer, three step-children Patrick, Stephanie and Joshua, his father Michael, and his sisters Maia, Eva, Ania and Yvonne. He is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria.
This information is taken from the Alexandria Police Association web site.