The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to tell the stories of our Fallen Officers on the anniversaries of their End of Watch.
Joseph Tracz was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department on July 7, 1969 and assigned to the 6th District. It was a job he loved. A tour of duty as an army paratrooper in Vietnam and a year of working at odd jobs were behind him now. Due to his high number of felony arrests, Tracz was awarded a merit pay raise.
On September 28, 1970, at 2:00 am, Officers, Tracz and Fulton observed a car run the red light at East 93rd and Yale. They pulled the vehicle over. Officer Fulton exited the cruiser and approached the Buick. Without warning, the driver jumped out and began shooting, striking Fulton in the mouth, chest and groin. Tracz chased the fleeing passenger, who turned and shot the officer. Although wounded, Tracz tackled his assailant. The assailant got up and fired a fatal shot.
Fulton managed to crawl back to the cruiser and radio for help. Responding officers found Tracz and Fulton with Tracz still clutching the shoe of his killer. The suspects were apprehended two years later.
Officer Tracz was survived by his wife Linda who was 8 months pregnant with their first child. Services were held at the Brunner Funeral Home in Mentor and he was buried in All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio.