The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to tell the stories of our Fallen Officers on the anniversary of their End of Watch.
Jerome C. Poelking joined the Division of Police on May 1, 1942. After completing the police academy he was assigned to the 5th District. He rose through the ranks and was put in charge of the Detective Division in 1969.
On Friday December 5, 1975, Poelking responded to the scene where hostages were being held at a tavern on Kinsman Road. He went to the basement of the establishment to confer with the detectives already on scene. While he was exiting the very crowded basement area, he was spat upon in the face.
Over the next several days, Captain Poelking complained to his wife, Mary, he did not feel well. On December 8, 1975, he awoke suffering from chills, fever and difficulty breathing. He died a short time later.
An investigation found that Capt. Poelking suffered a rare but fatal blood infection that was a direct result of an illness incurred while performing his function as a police officer. It was never determined who spat upon Capt. Poelking causing his fatal illness.
Jerome Poelking was survived by his wife Mary and children Mary Ann, Jerome Jr., Thomas, and James. Following services at the Schulte & Mahon-Murphy Funeral Home, he was laid to rest at All Souls Cemetery.