In honor of National Police Week, the Cleveland Police Museum tells the stories of Cleveland’s fallen officers.
Patrolman William P. Armstrong, was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department on June 20, 1915. Armstrong was assigned the beat of Patrolman William Brown, who had been shot and killed September 25, 1917 while making an arrest.
On March 9, 1919 Armstrong observed an armed robbery in progress. When he approached the gunman, the gunman suddenly turned and fired two shots, striking him in the upper chest. One of the bullets passed through his body near his heart.
Even though Armstrong lay mortally wounded, he was able to fire two shots at the assailant as he fled. The assailant escaped. Officer Armstrong was taken to Lakeside Hospital where he died a few hours later.
Prompted by Armstrong’s death, Chief Smith urged passage of legislation that would permit police to search homes of persons with doubtful reputations who might conceal fire arms or other weapons. Such a law would decrease the carry of concealed weapons at least by 90%. Chief Smith also implemented a policy that police walked beats with partners in particular areas of the city.
William Perry Armstrong, beloved husband of Lillian (nee Fenohr), father of William Perry, Jr., son of Martin and Minnie Armstrong, and brother of Lyle and John was laid to rest on March 12, 1919 at 2 p.m. at Woodland Cemetery.