Officer Willard Burton was shot and killed October 27, 1888 while assisting other officers arrest a man who was creating a disturbance.

The subject who shot him was a night police officer for the city. The man was convicted but later pardoned.

Officer Burton had served with the Elkhart Police Department for five years. He was survived by his wife.


Police Officer Orren Shelmadine was struck by a train February 9, 1920, while walking across the tracks at a railroad crossing near a passenger station.

Witnesses testified that Officer Shelmadine did not hear the train approaching from the east as he was looking towards the passenger station to the west. He was unable to clear the crossing in time and was dragged approximately 300 feet.

Officer Shelmadine had served with the Elkhart Police Department for five years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


Patrolman Henry Wentz was shot and killed December 13, 1924, while backing up county officers who were responding to a report of a murder.

The initial call was that a man had just killed a woman at a roadhouse and was going crazy. Patrolman Wentz was one of the first officers to arrive. Upon seeing the man leave the house Patrolman Wentz gave chase but was shot. He gave his gun to a county prosecutor who was riding with him and told him to catch the suspect. Other officers returned and found Patrolman Wentz dead. The wound penetrated his femoral artery, causing him to bleed to death. The suspect was shot and killed at the scene.

Patrolman Wentz had served with the Elkhart Police Department for 10 years.


Patrolman Douglas Adams was killed March 20, 2001 in an automobile accident involving two police cruisers at West Franklin Street and South Main Street.

The two officers were responding to back up an officer who was in a foot pursuit at the time. Their cruisers collided at an intersection, killing Patrolman Adams instantly. The officer in the other cruiser suffered minor injuries. The suspect involved in the foot pursuit was eventually captured. He was convicted of drug trafficking and resisting arrest, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Patrolman Adams was a U.S. Air Force veteran. He had served with the Elkhart Police Department for 11 months and had previously served as a reserve officer with the Liberty City Police Department. He is survived by his wife.



On December 29, 2009, Elkhart police say an officer who was relieving 43-year-old Cpl. Michael Swygart found him outside Elkhart General Hospital late Tuesday. Police believe he was completing reports on his in-car computer after accompanying a person to the hospital for treatment.

Swygart was a 20-year veteran of the city's police force.