Northwest Portland

Portland honors its police officers lost in the line of duty

Portland honors its police officers lost in the line of duty
Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. 5/14 - (Kai Hayashi / KATU.com)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Mournful music emanated from Tom McCall Waterfront Park Tuesday afternoon as horns and bagpipes marked the Portland Police Bureau’s annual memorial service.

The service, held in front of the Police Memorial wall near the foot of the Hawthorne Bridge, was for officers who have died while on duty.

Tuesday's memorial was part of National Police Week, which recognizes the service and sacrifice of U.S. law enforcement. The annual commemoration was established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962.

This year, three names will be added to the wall after the Portland Historical Society learned that there were three additional officers who died in the line of duty, but have not been recognized on the Police Memorial. Their names will also be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial, as well as the Oregon Police Memorial.

Officer Gilbert H. Horton

29-year-old Officer Horton was appointed in 1910 to the Portland Police Bureau and was assigned to foot patrol in Albina and North Portland.

By the 1930s, Officer Horton was in the Traffic Division, driving a patrol car.

He worked for many years and in 1946, he was assigned to Union Station.

Now 65, he was in ill health, but because of the almost non-existent pension, he couldn't afford to retire.

On December 23rd, 1946, he had arrested and was removing a drunk and disorderly woman from a train car when he collapsed in the Union Square Lobby.

He died within a few minutes of a heart attack.

He was 65 and his wife preceded him in death. He left behind an adult daughter.

Officer Glenn Logan Litzenberg

Officer Litzenberg joined the Portland Police Bureau in March 1915. Officer Litzenberg started out on foot patrol, working traffic and enforcing prohibition laws in and out of uniform.

In early 1917, he played center on the Police Benefit and Athletic Association ice hockey team. He joined the brand-new motorcycle squad in the fall of 1917.

On April 20th, 1918, Officer Litzenberg was on motorcycle patrol, following about 50 yards behind his partner. He was approaching the intersection of East 7th and Beech when a passenger car pulled into the blind intersection. He collided with the left front of the vehicle and was thrown into the air, falling headfirst onto the pavement and dying within minutes.

Officer Litzenberg was considered conscientious, thorough, popular, quiet and every inch an officer. His funeral was said to have been one of the largest in recent memory.

He was 31 and survived by his wife, mother and siblings.

Officer James David Wright

Officer Wright was appointed to the Police Bureau in 1918. Officer Wright started out on a walking beat and then in 1920, he became a motorcycle patrolman.

A few years later, Officer Wright was assigned back to headquarters. On January 18th, 1923, he responded to a welfare check. He broke down the room door of a Washington street lodging house, which was standard procedure then. Inside was the body of a man who had died of pneumonia.

Regulations of the day meant that Officer Wright had to stay with the body until it was removed by the coroner--which took several hours. Officer Wright went home that night and told his wife he was probably going to die. Three days later, on January 21st, 1923, Wright died at the age of 36. He was survived by his wife, two daughters and four-year-old son.

His son contracted pneumonia as well, but he survived and went on to serve 30 years with Portland Police.