On Thursday, November 13, 1902 at a saloon directly across from the Covington Police Department, off-duty Covington Patrolman Robert Brown (33) had become intoxicated and started a quarrel with two other patrons. Kenton County Deputy Bodkin, of Ludlow, and his partner, Deputy John D. McInerney (Kenton County Sheriff McInerney’s son), were called to the disturbance. As they attempted to separate the group, Brown pulled a handgun and shot both deputies. The deputies were rushed to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington.
Deputy Bodkin was pronounced dead with a gunshot to the abdomen. Deputy McInerney survived his wounds.
Deputy Bodkin was survived by his wife, Emma Louise Bodkin; five children, Margaret Bodkin (13), Thomas Bodkin (12), Samuel Bodkin (11), Nicholas Bodkin (8), and Morgan Bodkin (3 months); and four siblings. On Sunday, November 16, 1902, Deputy Bodkin’s remains were viewed at his home in Ludlow. On Monday, November 17, 1902, his body was removed to St. James church for a 9 o’clock Requiem High Mass concelebrated by Reverend Fathers Kehoe and McGaffey. It was the largest funeral in Ludlow’s history and included the entire Ludlow Fire Department. He was accompanied by the Catholic Knights of America and every carriage available in Newport and Covington to St. Stephen’s Cemetery.
Brown was arrested and tried, but his case was dismissed when the jurors could not agree on a verdict. Then, one of the jurors, Daniel Hogan, was arrested on a warrant sworn by Deputy Sheriff Collopy charging Hogan with perjury, having lied about his familial relationship with Brown. Brown was retried, and, on April 21, 1904, found guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter. Judge Shaw of the Circuit Court sentenced Brown to two years of hard labor.
Deputy Sheriff Bodkin was added to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Monument on May 17, 2011.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Museum Director at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was revised January 1, 2012 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historial Society.