An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
On May 22, 2023, many gathered at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources headquarters to honor the 10 Kentucky conservation officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1918.
Remembering Fallen Conservation OfficersCredit: Nathan Sangster
Photograph series by Rachel Cummings
On May 17, 2014, a memorial honoring the sacrifice of the fallen conservation officers was dedicated in Frankfort. To learn more, check out this informational page about the
Fallen Conservation Officer Memorial.
On March 19, 1987, Officer Robert C. Banker was shot and killed in Christian County after issuing a man a fishing citation. The suspect was convicted of Officer Banker's murder and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
On May 19, 2003, Officer Douglas W. Bryant was killed when his patrol truck was intentionally struck by the car of a man he was pursuing on I-75/71 in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.
On December 23, 1933, Deputy Game Warden James Claxton was shot and killed in Carroll County as he and two other wardens served a warrant on a man for using a double wing net in violation of state game laws.
On August 7, 1947, Officer John C. Martin was shot and killed while investigating out-of-season squirrel hunting in Warren County. The suspect who shot Officer Martin was arrested approximately two hours later. The man's brother was also arrested at a later date and charged as an accomplice.
On June 21, 1999, Officer Bernard D. Ratliff suffered a fatal heart attack while on duty participating in agency approved physical training.
On September 14, 1918, Game Warden Elijah Roberts was shot and killed from an ambush in Breathitt County by two suspects who were seeking revenge against him. He and another game warden were returning from a multi-day investigation in Hazard and were approaching Warden Roberts' home when the two suspects opened fire from a nearby cliff hidden in a cluster of bushes.
On July 20, 1973, Officer Denver Tabor drowned in the Ohio River in Crittenden County while attempting to save the life of a 10-year-old child who had fallen overboard from a boat.
On April 8, 1972, Officer Childs and Trooper James McNeely of the KSP drowned when their boat went over Dam 4 on the Kentucky River. The officers were searching for two missing juveniles when the accident occurred.
On April 28, 1959, Conservation Officer James Brady McClain was killed in a vehicle crash on U.S. 68 on mile west of Gracey. Officer McClain was returning from a conservation meeting in Christian County with the accident occurred.
On October 21, 1965, Conservation Officer Raymond Alexander Birdsong was killed in a vehicle crash on Route 453, approximately one-half mile north of Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Officer Birdsong died while on duty.