April 1st brought yet another death to the law enforcement community with the passing of Constable Joe Howard of Harlan County, Kentucky who died from an apparent heart attack shortly after arresting a suspect who had to be restrained.
Constable Howard had just made an arrest and dropped off his prisoner at the Harlan County Detention Center on Tuesday when he felt ill and pulled into the Harlan City Police Department parking lot, a place where his son, Tim Howard, is employed as a police officer. According to Harlan Chief Frank Doan, Howard wasn’t able to get out of his car and he used his cell phone to call inside the station for help. He was rushed to Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital where he died a short while later.
A graduate of Harlan High School and veteran of the U.S. Navy, Howard was a lifelong resident of Harlan and the Harlan County District 1 Constable for 13 years who spent the last 13 years serving court subpoenas and warrants and helping to keep peace in his district. He was well-known in the county as "a friendly, kind person who would always greet you with a smile and never walk through a door before you," according to the The Harlan Daily Enterprise.
“He is going to be missed, especially by the people at the High Rise Building where he lived — he did a lot for them,” Chief Doan said. “He never met a stranger, and he was the same every time you would see him.”
Constable Howard, age 55, is survived by three children and one grandchild as well as one brother and three sisters.