Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Park District Police Department
Served: 13 years*
Unit of Assignment / Detail: North Section
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Struck - By Vehicle
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 15 Dec 1896
Date of Appointment: 1924
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 22 Feb 1937
Date of Interment: 26 Feb 1937
Cemetery: Montrose Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 23
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 40
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 19-W: 12
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Park Policeman Bernard B. Klinke, Star #229, aged 40 years, was a 13 year veteran of the Chicago Park District Police Department, assigned to the North Section.
On February 22, 1937, Officer Klinke was directing rush hour traffic on Cornelia Avenue and Sheridan Road. He was swinging a red lantern and blew his whistle to stop the northbound traffic. He then started to walk to the curb in order to escort Mrs. Lee Schliff of 609 West Stratford Place and her daughter, Gladys, across the street. Tragically a northbound vehicle, driven by George H. Gamber, age 57 of 4444 North Monticello Avenue, failed to see the officer signaling or hear the whistle. The car struck Officer Klinke and dragged him for 60 feet. Officer Klinke was transported to American Hospital where he died a few hours later.
George Gamber was arrested and charged with manslaughter. At the Coroner’s inquest Gambler claimed that he did not see the lantern or hear Officer Klinke blow his whistle for a traffic change.
Officer Klinke was waked at a funeral home located at 2056-58 West Belmont Avenue, his funeral mass was also held at the funeral home. He was laid to rest on February 26, 1937 in Montrose Cemetery, 5400 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Park Policeman Bernard B. Klinke, born December 15, 1896, received his Probationary Appointment to the Lincoln Park District Police Department in 1934. He was laterally transferred to the Chicago Park District Police Department upon the consolidation of park districts on May 1, 1934. In 1925, he was cited for bravery in aiding in the capture of one of the Drake Hotel robbers. In 1933, he also won the first $25.00 award given by the Chicago Tribune for outstanding acts of courtesy among city and park policemen.
Officer Klinke was survived by his sisters: Marie Elmer, Lydia Grafus, Mrs. Hattie Stackley and Edith Klein.
The Chicago Park District Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on December 31, 1957. On January 1, 1958, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Police Department through an intergovernmental agreement. Fallen Officer of the Chicago Park District Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.