IN THE LINE OF DUTY

“OH GOD . . . I’VE BEEN HIT . . . GET HELP!”

Those were the last workd spoken by Detective Sergeant Jack R. Ohrberg, a decorated member of the Robbery & Homicide Unit of the Indianapolis Police Department.  It was jsut afte five o’clock in the morning of December 11, 1980.

“Dispatcher to ALL UNITS . . . SHOTS FIRED . . . OFFICER DOWN . . . 3500 North Oxford Street . . . ALL AVAILABLE UNITS RESPOND . . . CODE 3!”

And respond they did.  At the time Sergeant Ohrberg kicked in the door, the house was surrounded by detectives from his unit and uniformed officers.  Shots rang out, Sergeant Ohrberg was shot.  His lifeless body lay on the frozen concrete porch for two and one half hours as a raging gun battle ensued between a gang of ruthless armed robbery and murder suspects and police officers.

Two weeke before Christmas.  Sergeant Ohrberg had kissed his loving wife and their four children as he left for the office.  After an eight months investigation, he and his partner had identified the suspects in a string of armed robberies, that included a shoot out with an off-duty Marion County Deputy Sheriff as he was about to enter a bank and the robbery suspects were exiting with their guns.  The Deputy was uninjurde, the robbery suspects got away.  Next, a Brinks Armored Guard was murdered.  Sergeant Ohrberg and his unit, utilizing several Confidential Informants finally identified several members of the gang, including three brothers.  On this cold morning, they had tips the gang members were in hiding at three different residents.  Jack devised the plan to conduct a raid on each residence, simultaneously.  The detectives knew the suspects were armed and very dangerous.

Now, Detective Sergant Jack R. Ohrberg, a devoted husband, Father of four small children, a decicated and decorated veteran of nineteen years service to thePolice Department lay dead.  His Captain and the Police Chaplain would knock on his door and give the tragic news to his widow.  There would be NO Christmas joy for the Ohrberg family . . . only grief and sorrow.

Jack Ohrberg was against the deaqth penalty.  “It’s better to have someone convicted to sit in prison . . . than to execute one innocent man.”  He always said.  He was a good friend and a one-time mentor of mine.  He was the most dedicated police officer I have ever known.  He treated everyone with respect and dignity, even the bad guys he had to lock up.

Fourteen years after his murder, the gang leader became the last person put to death in the Electric Chair at Indiana State Priason.  Sixteen years after his murder, the other of his killers became the first person to be executed by Lethal Injection in Indiana.  I want to believe Jack was smiling down at THE EXECUTION of JUSTICE.

Thirty-Four years have passed.  I know you have been watching over your family, and you have thousands of reasons to be proud.  Rest in Peace, Jack.

href=”http://www.MichaelPhelpsNovels.com”>ODMP Jack R. Ohrberg

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