Served: 24 years
1904 to July 18, 1928
On March 19, 1927, just before midnight, Patrolman McChesney and Desk Sergeant James Bolser responded to Heffner Avenue and Garfield Street for a report of two men “shooting up the place.” Upon arrival, they found 24-year-old Mem (or Mim) White, and 23-year-old Charles Harper, both of 1301 Sycamore Street. As Patrolman McChesney approached them, White pulled a firearm from his coat and shot him, then ran.
Patrolman McChesney fell to the ground and Sergeant Bolser ran after White, caught him, and wrestled the handgun away from him. During the struggle, White was shot. Simultaneously, Patrolman McChesney rose up and fired a shot at Harper.
Sergeant Bolser, seeing his first duty was to help his partner, returned to Patrolman McChesney while the suspects escaped. Sergeant Bolser took Patrolman McChesney to police headquarters and then to Middletown Hospital. His condition was considered very serious with a bullet wound just below his heart.
Butler County Sheriff George Sloneker and Middletown Police Chief Raymer formed a posse of officers, deputy sheriffs, railroad detectives and civilians and went in search of the suspects. Chief Raymer and other officers found both at White’s home. They took White to a hospital and charged him with Assault with Intent to Kill.
By March 22, 1927, Patrolman McChesney’s condition had improved markedly. While both suspects were still being detained, Harper had admitted his involvement and signed an affidavit as to White having shot Patrolman McChesney as soon as McChesney alighted from his police vehicle. Later that year, Patrolman McChesney recovered well enough to return to limited duty as a desk officer.
On July 15, 1927, White pleaded guilty to Assault with Intent to Kill and was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison.
Sixteen months after being shot, on July 17, 1928, Patrolman McChensney was rushed back to Middletown Hospital with an obstructed bowel. Overtaken by dread and grief, his mother, Mary Elizabeth (80), was also rushed to the hospital. By midday on July 18, 1928, medical personnel decided to operate on Patrolman McChesney. He died on the operating table at 8 p.m.
Patrolman McChesney was survived by his wife, Laura Elizabeth; seven children, including, Zella (27), Helen F. (28), Laura E. (24), Margaret E. (21), George (19), and Mary (18), and his mother, Mary Elizabeth McChesney (80). Funeral services were conducted at his home on Saturday, July 21, 1928, immediately after which he was buried on in Woodside Cemetery in Middletown Section 19, Lot 661, Grave 2. Twenty-four hours later, on July 22, 1928, his mother died due in part to, according to the Butler County Coroner, the death of her son.
The Butler County Prosecutor determined that White could not be charged with Murder due to double jeopardy.
We know of only seven line of deaths of Middletown Police Officers in the 20th Century and five died during Prohibition. We believe there is another Middletown officer’s death in the 19th Century, perhaps named “Moyer” but have found little account of it.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident or the 19th Century line of duty death, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was further reviewed and revised on May 12, 2015 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Executive Director. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.