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Chief Phillips memorial plaque unveiled

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 6th, 2013

Pictured above are Chief James E.B. Phillips’ grand children and great-grandchildren. Back row, left to right are Rodney Wise, Sherry Wise, Buddy Lee Burgy, Bud Burgy and Joanne Coulter. Front row, left to right are Betty Jo Miller, Bonnie Enright and Beatrice Carpenter.

GRAFTON- Those sworn to uphold the law are the “thin blue line” that separates anarchy from civilization, and chaos from order. From patrolmen to chiefs, and deputies to sheriffs, these brave souls give their all to protect our families, and one even gave his life.

On Tuesday, October 30, residents, the police force and family members of Chief James E. B. Phillips gathered for a memorial plaque presentation and remembrance of his sacrifice.

Chief Phillips died on February 11, 1919 in the City of Grafton, and to date, he is the only police officer killed in the line of duty in Taylor County.

The memorial program handed to those in attendance stated, “On a quiet Sunday morning, approximately 10 a.m., February 9, 1919, in a locality indicated from records as Latrobe Street in Grafton, near the Taylor County Court House, Grafton Police Chief James E. B. Phillips was shot by the discharge of a pistol in the hands of Jacob Lutz. Chief Phillips was attempting to arrest Lutz, who had in his possession two pints of illegal liquor. Lutz sprang away from Chief Phillips, drawing his revolver and fired at him; the first bullet failed to strike Chief Phillips, and Chief Phillips slipped and fell face down to the ground, which followed by a second shot fired by Lutz into his back. Coming to his aid was Taylor County Deputy Homer Selvy. Dr A.R. Warden was summoned from worship service at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church to provide medical care at the shooting site. Chief Phillips was then transported to Grafton City Hospital, where he died from the gun shot wound at 11:35 p.m. on Tuesday February 11, 1919. This was the “end of watch” for Grafton Chief of Police James E. B. Phillips.”

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