Saturday, April 5, 2008

Kentucky Constable Dies in the Line of Duty

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.


  1. A terrible start to April. :(

  2. Oh my, this is way too young to pass away. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and the law enforcement community. :(

  3. Constables in Kentucky have only a vague resemblance to law enforcement:
    1. They are elected
    2. They have no real duties
    3. They are not paid.

    Too bad, but it cheapens the purpose of your posts to pay tribute to actual law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty protecting and defending citizens.


  4. Hey Going ...

    I just wanted to mention here that I base my posts on the officers that are listed on the Officer Down Memorial Page, which is where I get my line of duty death notifications from, and I guess I figure that if they consider a person to have been an officer then I really shouldn't be second-guessing them.

    I don't believe that it cheapens the posts I do to other officers as the Constable did die after a struggle restraining a prisoner which is part of law enforcement, is it not?

  5. My condolences to the family and my thanks to the officer for his service.

  6. My sympathies to the family.


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