January 24, 2013
Eriks Gabliks, Director
Department of Public Safety Standards & Training
The Oregon Board on Public Safety Standards and Training (BPSST) approved the addition of Portland Police Officer Glenn L. Litzenberg, Officer James D. Wright, and Officer Gilbert H. Horton to the Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.
The nominations were made through the historic recognition process which allows for the addition of names of officers who died in the line of duty whose deaths were unknown when the memorial was created 20 years ago. It is the goal of the Board to honor and remember the sacrifices of all of Oregon's fallen officers and they families they left behind.
The Portland Police Museum identified these three officers of the Portland Police Bureau who died while in the line of duty in the 1900s. For many years these deaths went unknown until members of the Portland Police Museum discovered their stories as they conducted historical research of yearly reports sent to the mayor's office.
The names will be officially added during the 2013 Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. This event will take place at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem. The memorial honors more than 170 fallen Oregon law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1880s. This includes officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies who have served as law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and parole and probation officers.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. has also accepted the three nominations and will be including these officers on their memorial.
The deaths meet the criteria for the Oregon Law Enforcement Officer Memorial. Oregon Administrative Rule 259-008-0100 (i), which defines "In the line of duty death" as a fatal injury which is the direct or proximate result of any enforcement action or emergency response resulting in death or death directly resulting from law enforcement training for enforcement action or emergency response that the law enforcement officer is authorized or obligated to perform by law, rule, regulation, or condition of employment or service while on or off duty.
Background Information on Portland Police Officer Glenn L. Litzenberg, Officer James D. Wright, and Officer Gilbert H. Horton:
Glenn L. Litzenberg
1887 - 1918
Glenn moved from Iowa to Portland around 1905 when he was 18. His father had been a blacksmith and died when Glenn was seven. His mother moved with her children to join her son in Portland.
Glenn worked as a clerk, laborer, longshoreman and messenger driver until he joined the Bureau in March of 1915.
"Litz" as he was called by fellow officers, 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 septet. He joined the brand-new motorcycle squad in the fall of 1917.
On April 20, 1918 Litzenberg was on motorcycle patrol, following about 50 yards behind his partner. He was approaching 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.
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.
James D. Wright
1886 - 1923
J.D. was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He worked on the family farm until 1910, briefly became a butcher and in 1911 he joined the Army, eventually becoming a military policeman.
While stationed at Fort Yellowstone he met Clara Poe who was waitressing at the Yellowstone National Park. They were married and in 1918 moved to Portland.
Appointed to the Bureau in the fall of 1918, he was 32 years old. He initially worked foot patrol out of Headquarters; in 1920 he was assigned to the new East sub-station in the firehouse at 35th and Belmont. Shortly afterwards, he moved to motorcycle patrol.
In 1921, 2nd and Couch was called "the most wicked spot in Portland." Considered to be full of illiterate criminals, Wright was partnered with patrolman Read and both were assigned to work the area.
On January 18, 1923, Wright was sent to investigate a reported death at a Washington Street lodging house. The person had died of pneumonia. Standard procedures of the time meant that Wright had to stay in the room, search the room for information and wait for the coroner.
Wright went home and told his wife that he would probably die. Three days later, on January 21, Wright died at the age of 36. He was survived by his wife and four year old son. His son contracted pneumonia, brought home by J.D., but he survived and went on to serve 30 years with Portland Police.
Gilbert H. Horton
Born in Iowa, his family moved to Needy, Oregon in 1886 and later settled in the Oregon City area.
Gil attended high school in Oregon City and soon moved to Portland where he was married in 1908. The couple lived on a strawberry farm near West Linn. Later he worked as a laborer and a clerk with the Portland City Water Works Department.
Appointed in 1910 at the age of 29, he worked foot patrol out of Headquarters for many years. By the 1930s he was in the traffic division, driving a patrol car.
On December 23, 1946 he was working in Union Station. That evening, he was called about a drunk on one of the train cars and found a 42 year old woman who was very inebriated, loud and disorderly. Horton placed her under arrest and with the assistance of a special officer, removed her from the train. As they walked through Union Station he collapsed, dying within minutes of a heart attack.
Horton was 65 and survived by his grown daughter.