Our Heroes

Deputy Sheriff Harry Swaney

End of Watch: Monday, August 12, 1935
Deputy Sheriff Harry Swaney succumbed to injuries sustained eight days earlier when he was involved in an automobile accident on South Valley Road while on traffic duty. Deputy Swaney was survived by his wife.

Deputy Sheriff Earl Griffith

End of Watch: Thursday, May 1, 1947

Deputy Griffith was shot and killed when he and his partner stopped to investigate a parked car on the Purdy Highway, just over the California – Nevada border.

The deputies were investigating the incident after a series of robberies. Deputy Griffith was shot when he ordered one of the juveniles out the car while his partner searched the second juvenile. His partner was also wounded in the shootout. The two suspects then fled the scene but were apprehended a short time later.

The suspect who killed Deputy Griffith was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in Folsom Prison. On October 11, 1949, he stabbed a fellow inmate to death. He was convicted of first-degree murder and executed in the gas chamber on February 8, 1957.

Deputy Sheriff Franklin Jay Minnie Sr.

End of Watch: Sunday, June 1, 1997
Deputy Minnie was killed in an accident as he was pursuing a trespassing suspect. As Deputy Minnie was passing a tractor-trailer, a piece of debris struck his motorcycle, causing him to lose control when he struck the median.

Deputy Sheriff John Nicholas Wiberg, II

End of Watch: Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Deputy Wiberg was killed in an automobile accident while responding to an armed robbery call at a casino in Lemon Valley at 0200 hours.

He was responding on U.S. 395 when his patrol car went out of control on the wet pavement. The patrol car crossed into oncoming lanes and collided with another vehicle. Deputy Wiberg was extricated from the wreckage and transported to the Washoe Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Deputy Wiberg had served with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office for 14 years. During his tour with the agency, he had received the agency’s Lifesaving Award and Bronze Star. He is survived by his wife and four daughters.

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