DIED IN THE LINE OF DUTY FROM HEART ATTACK
Appointed: June 12, 1874
End of Watch: July 5, 1907
Weakened by a struggle with a prisoner, who attempted to escape, Policeman John Blanford, one of the oldest officers in the city, dropped dead at the 15th and Locust streets station a few minutes after he had safely placed the offender in a cell. The death of the policeman was caused, physicians say, by a stroke of apoplexy, super-induced by excitement in bringing the struggling man to the station house. Policeman Blanford was 63 years old at the time.
While on his way to the station house at 7:05 A.M. to report to morning roll call, this veteran blue coat at 18th and Walnut streets arrested the prisoner, who is alleged to have acted in a disorderly manner. Blanford did not summon a patrol wagon but decided to march the offender to the station. For the first few squares the prisoner willingly accompanied him, then the man attempted to free himself. Although, handicapped by his weak physical condition, Blanford hung desperately to the arm of his captive, the man struck at him several times, but the bluecoat finally subdued him by threatening to use a club. When the station house was reached, the prisoner again attempted to escape. Blanford was knocked off his feet by the tussle but pulled the man into the roll room. After the captive had been slated and Blanford had responded to the roll call and he retired to a dormitory on the second floor. As he passed through the doors he fell to the floor, clutching at his heart with one hand. “I’m done for, boys” he said as fellow officer rushed to his side. For more than a score of years, Blanford’s beat was in the fashionable district surrounding Rittenhouse Square.