Served: 14 months
February 1, 1925 to April 10, 1926
On April 10, 1926, a phone call came into the Hamilton Police Department reporting a large disturbance at 712 Seventeenth Street. Patrolman Carl Sandlin was dispatched. Patrolmen Skeen was off duty at headquarters, but offered to go with him.
They arrived, about 5 p.m. Patrolman Skeen stepped onto the porch and knocked on the door. There was no response. He looked to a woman at the next house and asked her if she had heard a disturbance. With that, Albert Conley (30), from inside the house, discharged a shotgun through the front door and into Patrolman Skeen’s back and head. As Patrolman Skeen fell down the steps, Conley fired at Patrolman Sandlin and missed. Patrolman Sandlin returned fire striking Conley a glancing blow on the head.
One of the neighbors called the police for backup and Patrolman Raymond Frazier and Detective Hugh King responded. Suddenly, Conley ran from the back of the house and the officers gave chase. Conley fired another blast and struck Patrolman Frazier in the side and he went down. As Conley was reloading on the porch of a neighbor’s home, Patrolman Sandlin shot him through a lung.
All three of the injured men were taken to Mercy Hospital. Patrolman Skeen died soon after he arrived; becoming one of 5 Middletown Police Officers who died during Prohibition. Only two others died during the whole 20th Century.
Patrolman Skeen was survived by his wife, Bettie Skeen; three children, Martha Skeen (17), Thelma Skeen (12) and Betty Skeen (4); and his parents, Frank and Mahala Skeen. Funeral services were conducted Wednesday, April 13, 1926, at his residence at 925 Beech Street. He was buried in Woodside Cemetery in Middletown.
Conley survived the wound and police charged him with First Degree Murder. He was convicted on July 29, 1926, but the jury recommended mercy. The judge sentenced him to life imprisonment.
NOTES: We don’t know what type of disturbance was alleged or whether it was a setup by Conley. We don’t know how long Conley served.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was revised March 7, 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 Historical Society.