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Heroes Roll Call: Patrol Officer Ernest C. Holbert, #402

The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to share the stories of our Fallen Officers on the anniversary of their End of Watch.

Ernest C. Holbert was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department on September 1, 1955 and worked in the 4th District.

On Sunday, January 2, 1972, Patrol Officer Holbert and his partner volunteered to investigate a routine traffic accident at Buckeye Road and East Boulevard. The at-fault driver, who had been seated in the patrol car, was arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence and was issued a citation for the accident. This driver, still in the rear seat of the police vehicle stated, “I’m not going to jail,” and pulled a gun. The armed driver fired a shot, striking Officer Holbert in the forehead. His partner sustained gunshot wounds to his chest and right hand but was able to return the gunfire, killing the driver.

Patrol Officer Ernest C. Holbert, #402, EOW 10/27/1987

The armed driver fired a shot, striking Officer Holbert in the forehead. His partner sustained gunshot wounds to his chest and right hand but was able to return the gunfire, killing the driver.

Officer Holbert was taken to an area hospital where he underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments from his brain. Officer Holbert never returned to duty. In the years following his head injury, Holbert’s physical condition deteriorated until he died on Tuesday, October 27, 1987.


Officer Holbert was survived by his second wife Rita and eight children.  Services were held at the Corrigan Funeral Home on Lorain Avenue and he was laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery.

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