In the Line of Duty
Sheriff Fred A. Bigalow
Fred A. Bigalow, the Sheriff of Niagara County from 1936-1944, is the only Sheriff in New York history to die as a result of adversarial action. A popular and highly respected law enforcement leader throughout the entire state, on June 18, 1944, Sheriff Bigalow was shot when responding to a call from a woman who had been threatened by her intoxicated husband. The man was waiting in ambush. Sheriff Bigalow died on June 19, 1944.
Deputy Sheriff William J. Fiegl Jr.
Deputy Fiegl was killed on the morning of December 1, 1956, shortly after starting his shift. His patrol car was struck by a New York Central Railroad passenger train at the Delmer Railroad crossing on River Rd. in the town of Wheatfield. He was in the Accident Safety Vehicle investigating vehicles that were being abandoned in the vicinity. Deputy Fiegl had been with the department for three years, and was survived by his wife, two sons, parents and four siblings.
Deputy Jeffrey A. Incardona
Shortly after 3:00 A.M. on July 22, 1993, Niagara County Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Incardona was in the Niagara County Jail finishing paper work on an earlier arrest. Suddenly, a distress call from a Lockport City police officer who had been shot came into the communications center. Without hesitation, Deputy Incardona ran to his patrol car, racing to assist the downed officer. It is believed that a defective manhole cover caused Deputy Incardona to lose control of his vehicle. The patrol car struck a utlilty pole and burst into flames. He was survived by a wife and three young sons. In January 1994, the New York State Sheriff's Association named Deputy Jeffrey Incardona posthumously "Deputy of the Year" for 1993.
Deputy Sheriff Howard Mead
Deputy Mead was hired by the Sheriff’s office and assigned to the county jail in 1954. On July 2, 1967, Deputy Mead and other corrections officers confronted two inmates that refused to return to their cells after showering. The officers engaged in a violent scuffle to subdue the inmates, and Deputy Mead was struck in the head with a broom during the altercation. Thinking his injury wasn’t serious, Deputy Mead finished his shift, returned home and traveled to Scranton, Pennsylvania the next morning to attend a nephew’s graduation. During the ceremony, Deputy Mead had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital, where he died a few hours later of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Police Matron Phyllis M. Meyers
On June 15, 1970, Matron Meyers was working her final shift before retirement in the women’s detention block in the Niagara County Jail. While transporting an inmate from one cell to another, two teenage inmates escaped and began to attack Matron Meyers with a glass coffee mug. They placed a pillow over her mouth to muffle her screams, and tried to escape out an opening that was significantly smaller than they’d believed. Unable to leave as planned, the inmates called for help. Matron Meyers was rushed to Lockport Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Matron Meyers was a 27-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.
At approximately 8 p.m. on December 4, 2011, the Niagara Falls Police Department requested the assistance of K-9 Rocky with handler Deputy Craig Beiter and K-9 Sarge, with handler Sgt. James Hildreth from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a building search. The building search involved a possible burglary in progress and a reported female screaming for help inside the building. During the search, Rocky, who was not on his leash, entered the roof area of the six-floor building and was checking for suspects. Rocky leaped over a three foot retaining wall, falling about sixty feet to the ground. Rocky was the first Sheriff’s Office K-9 lost in the line of duty.