Emergency Services Memorial

 

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The Emergency Services Memorial near Five Points in Cleveland

Members of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office who have given their lives in the line of duty

Sheriff Israel L. Smith

On March 14, 1922, Bradley County Sheriff Israel Smith traveled to the area of the county known as Owl Hollow in the White Oak Mountains to raid a whiskey still. Sheriff Smith died that day from a gunshot wound.

Sheriff Smith is the only Bradley County sheriff in history to die in the line of duty. Smith was shot while raiding an 80-gallon whiskey still. The raid on the still can be compared to a major drug bust today.

The Sheriff’s killers, Luther and Jasper Borin, were captured the next day in Polk County. According to news accounts of the day, they were seen crossing Parksville Lake and were eventually captured by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a story from the Cleveland Herald.

Smith was waiting at the Star Dry Cleaning Company the day before he was to meet with his men about the raid. The group planned to leave town at 3:00 a.m. the next day. Smith didn’t get any sleep that night as he stayed up to care for his sick wife.

After finding the still, the suspects quickly fled. Smith ran to the north side of the still to cut them off but was hit by gunfire. He apparently died instantly as a bullet pierced an artery in his heart. Jailer G.G. Bryant rushed to the sheriff’s aid but he was already dead. Bryant placed Smith’s hat on his face and straightened out the body. The suspects escaped as a storm made it hard to track them down.

Smith had commented to the Herald reporter the day before that he was glad he never had to use his pistol on a prisoner. Smith said he was surprised because you can never predict the nature of a raid. He was right. The Bradley County community was shocked upon hearing of the incident.

Several rewards were offered by area groups for the capture and indictment of the killers. The Ku Klux Klan was one of the groups offering $500.00 Authorities were tipped off on who shot Sheriff Smith when they returned to the still later in the week. A 12-year-old boy who lived in a home near the still informed officers that Luther and Jasper Boring were responsible for the killing.

In memory of Sheriff Smith and to honor his deeds as one of Bradley County’s greatest heroes, State Representative Chris Newton to sponsor legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly naming a section of South Lee Highway in memory of Sheriff Israel Smith.

After adoption in both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly, appropriate signage was placed along a section of the highway to serve as a reminder of Sheriff Smith’s legacy.

Deputy Taylor Caywood was killed while returning a prisoner from another state on January 27, 1932.

Deputy Ken Wright, Sr. was shot and killed on Broomfield Road while attempting to arrest a violator on August 22, 1971. He came to the aid of a Cleveland Police Officer and saved the officer’s life, but lost his own.

Reserve Deputy Al McCollum of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office was killed while on a rescue attempt with the Cleveland / Bradley County Rescue Service in Meigs County on September 16, 1989.

Members of other agencies in Bradley County killed in the line of duty

Patrolman Bud Cash of the Cleveland Police Department was killed at the intersection of Inman and Ocoee Streets while running emergency traffic, April 21, 1955.

Officer Justin Maples of the Cleveland Police Department was killed when his patrol car crashed into a utility pole on South Lee Highway while responding to back-up a Bradley County Sheriff’s deputy on a stolen vehicle on Sunday, May 20, 2012.

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