On the night of April 8, 1893, Patrolman George H. Martin of the Carlisle Police Department followed a suspect into an alley near the Old Graveyard on East South Street. There was a gunshot.
Martin, in that moment, became the first and only police officer killed in the line of duty in Carlisle.
Sgt. David Miller of the Carlisle Police Department said the department has been trying to honor Martin over the last few years.
“We’ve been trying to make a big deal about remembering the anniversary of his killing and things like that just for awareness,” he said.
Now, the department is looking for Martin’s family members to share in the latest honor.
Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis knew about a program in the Philadelphia area that honored fallen officers by placing plaques at the places at which they were killed, Miller said. He reached out to the program’s founder, and a plaque will be installed at the Carlisle Police Department to honor Martin.
Detective Thomas Dolan said the department would like to invite Martin’s descendants to be part of the dedication ceremony for the plaque. Reflections Dolan found on the Officer Down Memorial Page entry for Martin suggest he has relatives in Illinois.
The department wants to hear from Martin’s relatives.
“I would think that the story had been handed down through the family, but I don’t know,” Miller said.
Honoring Martin’s sacrifice is important to the department because he’s part of the family of police officers, officials said. It’s significant for the officers who daily have to think about the possibility of that outcome and how it would affect their families.
Martin, for example, left behind a wife, Clara, and a daughter, Anna, who was born in 1892.
“The significant thing is how he was living his life, trying to serve, and then how, ultimately, his life was taken in service to the community,” Miller said.
The man convicted of killing Martin, Charles Salyards, was hanged on March 1, 1894. He maintained his innocence to the moment of his death.