Jacob Ruopp, Trentonʼs First Fallen Police Officer

Gravemarker for
Jacob Ruopp (1819–1875)
Jacob Ruopp, born December 31, 1819, was the first of Trenton's police officers to be killed in the line of duty. At a quarter past midnight on June 6, 1875, he and fellow officer Louis Hartmann came upon two rowdy men at the corner of Broad Street and Hamilton Avenue.

The officers told them the hour was early and it was time to go home, but one of the men, James Keenan, refused and struggled with the officers when they sought to arrest him for drunk and disorderly conduct. He subsequently pulled a handgun from his pocket and fired two shots, one of which struck Ruopp in the abdomen.

Hartmann and Ruopp took the suspect to the police station where he was booked and sent to the county jail, and Ruopp was sent home to be attended by a doctor. After twice probing the wound with medical instruments, several doctors were unable to locate the bullet, leading them to express their opinion that he was not likely to recover.

Ruopp succumbed to his injuries on June 14 and was interred in Section H, Lot 54-55, on June 16. The city's common council passed a resolution recognizing the fallen officer for the "faithful discharge of his duties" and voted in favor of paying the undertaker's bill for his funeral.

Keenan was indicted for murder, but convicted of manslaughter. After serving a ten-year sentence in state prison, he moved to Philadelphia and made a living selling produce, and where he also became a temperance advocate.

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