Heroes Roll Call: Patrolman Clarence T. Smith, #288

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

Badge of Patrolman Clarence Smith, #288, EOW 6/6/1939

Clarence Smith was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department on November 5, 1930. He served in the accident prevention bureau before being assigned to the vice squad in the summer of 1939.

On June 2, 1939, Officer Smith and his partner, Officer Charles Kolesar, conducted a liquor/marijuana raid at 6205 Quincy Avenue. When they entered the apartment, a woman threw two containers out a window. Officer Smith retrieved the containers and found one contained whiskey and the other alcohol. Placing them on a shelf, he proceeded to guard the two suspects, a husband and wife.

Fearing the suspects might try to destroy the evidence, Smith held the containers. The husband grabbed a wooden coat hanger and smashed the glass jug, spilling the contents over a lit stove. The alcohol ignited, engulfing Smith in flames. Officer Kolesar quickly wrapped Smith in a mattress and extinguished the flames. The two suspects, Eiva Veron and his wife, escaped.

Smith was rushed to St. Vincent Charity Hospital in critical condition. Numerous officers gave blood, as did his wife. Four days after the incident, Smith succumbed to his injuries.

Officer Smith was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. He left behind a loving wife Laura and sons Edward and Donald

Plain Dealer, June 3, 1939
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