Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Deputies killed in the line of duty:

There have been five Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Deputies killed in the line of duty, since the organization of the Sheriff's Office in 1848.

On March 25, 1911. Deputy Clarence Woolman, who was transporting prisoner, Dr. H. D. Kelly, to an asylum in Knoxville, Iowa. Deputy Woolman stopped at a Des Moines hotel to sleep for the night. Instead of incarcerating Dr. Kelly at the Polk County Jail Deputy Woolman allowed Dr. Kelly to stay in his room. While Deputy Woolman slept, Dr. Kelly took Deputy Woolman's gun and shot him to death. Dr. Kelly went to the nearest saloon and demanded a drink. The bartender, named Sterzing, refused. Sterzing was also shot to death by Dr. Kelly. Dr. Kelly was arrested for the murders, but by all accounts available he never served any prison time or received any punishment for the murders.

Officer Down Memorial Page: Deputy Sheriff Clarence Woolman


On August 25, 1932, Special Deputy Claude Dail was accidentally shot and killed when a riot gun inadvertently discharged while protecting the Squirrel Cage Jail from rioters during the 1932 Farmers Union Strike. 

Deputy Dail had served with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Department for only three days.

Officer Down Memorial Page: Special Deputy Claude Dail


On March 13, 1947, Deputy Sheriff Fern McKinley was killed in an automobile crash on Highway 59, south of Avoca, while responding to a report of another vehicle accident.

Deputy McKinley was a U.S. Army veteran of WWI and had served with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office for eight years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and mother.

Officer Down Memorial Page: Deputy Sheriff Robert Fern McKinley


On October 8, 1981, in Minden, Iowa, Chief Deputy Duane Otto was fatally injured when a roof of a porch fell on him as deputies were entering a home of a man who was threatening to kill his wife and threatening suicide. Sheriff Lynn Ford described Duane Otto as "a friend, mentor and the driving force in making the Sheriff's Office what it was" and that Otto "was the absolute best in the State of Iowa". Chief Deputy Otto was the President of the Iowa State Sheriff's and Deputies Association at the time of his death. Duane Otto was admired and respected by many across the State of Iowa.

Officer Down Memorial Page: Chief Deputy Sheriff Duane Herman Otto


On May 1, 2017, Deputy Sheriff Mark Burbridge was shot and killed at the Pottawattamie County Jail, in Council Bluffs, as he and another deputy returned two inmates to the jail after a court appearance.

As the deputies began to take the inmates into the jail one of the inmates attacked them. The inmate was able to disarm one of the deputies and shot them both. He then stole the transport van and fled from the jail. He shot a citizen nearby when he attempted to carjack the man. He then abducted another citizen and forced her to drive him from the scene in her vehicle.

The subject was located by Omaha, Nebraska police officers after releasing the woman. He was taken into custody following a high speed pursuit and charged with numerous felonies related to the carjacking and weapons possession. The man had just been sentenced to 55 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder.

Deputy Burbridge had served with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office for 12 years.

Officer Down Memorial Page: Deputy Sheriff Mark Burbridge



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