May 14, 2009

Badge of officer killed in 1919 returned

The badge worn by an Akron, Ohio, police officer who died in the line of duty 90 years ago has been returned to his grandchildren.

Sgt. Tom Dye, the Akron department's historian, presented the badge to Rita Sabo and Bob Kline at a ceremony Wednesday to honor fallen officers, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. It belonged to George Werne, who was shot dead at the age of 32 when he stopped three men at a railroad crossing in March 1919.

Werne was survived by his wife and three young children, including the mothers of Sabo and Kline.

Dye said he bought the badge from a collector several years ago. He did not realize it had belonged to Werne because it includes an eagle, and he believed that in 1919 officers wore a simpler badge with nothing except their badge number.

Then he asked Sabo for pictures of her grandfather and she e-mailed one that showed him clearly wearing the eagle badge.

''To own something of my grandfather's ... it's just a great thing to keep,'' Sabo said.

Kline said his mother gave him his grandfather's guns after he promised never to use them.