Dunkirk officers killed in the line of duty will be honored Thursday

A plaque to honor the three members of the city of Dunkirk Police Department who were killed in the line of duty will be dedicated Thursday at 10 a.m. in Memorial Park by the Badge of Honors Association in conjunction with the Dunkirk Police Department.

Patrolman George Nelson, Lieutenant J. Harry Knollman and Lieutenant Mark Elfman all “gave their lives while serving and protecting the city of Dunkirk and its residents,” Dunkirk police officer Mark Gruber stated.

According to the Dunkirk Police Department website, Patrolman George Nelson died Oct. 17, 1920 when he was shot and killed when he interrupted the burglary of a warehouse at the intersection of Second and Eagle streets. The suspects were never located.

Lt. J. Harry Knollman died Feb. 6, 1932, succumbing to injuries when he struck his head while investigating a burglary in a residential cellar.

Lt. Mark M. Elfman was shot and killed Oct. 1, 1961 when he and another officer responded to a domestic disturbance.

As Lt. Elfman approached the front door the suspect opened the door and fired a shotgun, fatally wounding him. The suspect was convicted of murder and later died of cancer in prison.

Gruber is the president of the Dunkirk Police Benevolent Association and has worked with Badge of Honors Association President Justin Collins, a sergeant in the Rochester Police Department.

“Our organization really has two goals with our sign dedications, the first being to honor our fallen brothers and sisters who died serving these communities. The next is to meet as many law enforcement members and supporters of this profession as we possibly can from across western and central New York,” Collins explained. “BOHA operates on the commitment of dedicated, passionate and driven volunteers. These men and women are truly unsung heroes, for without their efforts our organization would not survive”

Planning for the ceremony, which will also honor fallen officers from other Southern Tier police agencies, began when Collins contacted Gruber several weeks ago.

“Sergeant Collins is one of the founding members of the Badge of Honor Association. This organization travels throughout New York State, honoring fallen Officers that have been killed in the line of duty,” Gruber explained. “For this event, Dunkirk has the distinction of being named as the host city. In the history of the Dunkirk Police Department, we have endured three of these tragedies. Patrolman George Nelson, Lieutenant J. Harry Knollman and Lieutenant Mark Elfman all gave their lives while serving and protecting the city of Dunkirk and its residents.

“On this day, we will pay a long overdue tribute to these officers and their families. We will dedicate a sign with the fallen officers names on it that will be permanently placed in Memorial Park, so that they will never be forgotten. We would like to invite residents of the city of Dunkirk and local communities to join us for this dedication ceremony.”