LANCASTER- This week marks 100 years since the death of Herbert “Ed” Glidden, a 48-year-old peace officer who was shot and killed while investigating a potentially stolen vehicle near Lancaster Boulevard. To commemorate the first local law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty, the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station released a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding Glidden’s death. Read it below:
Herbert “Ed” Glidden was elected as Lancaster Constable in 1914, and was two years into his second term in 1920. On November 9th, 1920, Constable Glidden noticed a brightly colored car parked on Lancaster Boulevard, at the time called Tenth Street, outside of the old Post Office, which was then located on the southwest corner of Lancaster Blvd. and Sierra Highway (Sierra Highway was called “Antelope Avenue” in 1920). The yellow paint was still wet. Glidden and others were looking at the car when a felon by the name of William McCabe returned to the car.
McCabe jumped in the car, drove east on Lancaster Boulevard, and then turned south on Sierra Highway. Constable Glidden… jumped from the sidewalk to the passenger side running board of the car. He hung onto the side of the car with one hand. With his other hand he stuck his revolver through the open passenger window and ordered [McCabe] to stop. The car’s window curtains kept Glidden from seeing McCabe draw his own revolver. McCabe fired and Constable Glidden was struck in the head. He fell to the street outside of the Jazz Café on the west side of Sierra Highway. We believe the Jazz Café is located where TV 4 Less is now located. Constable Glidden was taken by locals to the local doctor, but sadly succumbed to his injury.
Within 15 minutes of the shooting, six separate posses were formed. Los Angeles County Sheriff John Cline was notified and he also sent out messages to surrounding law enforcement agencies. A total of 250 lawmen and civilians responded to assist in the suspect’s capture. The posses loaded up into cars, rode motorcycles, rode horses, and even flew seven airplanes, in a massive search of the Antelope Valley for the suspects. Sheriff Cline himself boarded one of the planes to participate in the search personally.
The Palmdale posse found the car abandoned in the desert north of Palmdale, near Avenue N and Sierra Highway. They followed a foot trail from the car for about a mile and found McCabe. A gunfight ensued and McCabe was killed.
Constable Glidden was laid to rest with honors at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles. It was one of the largest attended funerals at the cemetery up to that date.
Constable Gildden was 48 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife Lottie Winzola Lewis (born 1881 – died 1968), his son Harold Glidden (born 9/29/1910 – died 3/11/1990), and his daughter Edith Glidden-Smith (born 11/15/1912 – died 12/10/1992). His name is enshrined on The National Peace Officers’ Memorial in Washington D.C. (Panel #18-W: 25); The California Peace Officers’ Memorial in Sacramento (Plaque #14); and the memorial walls of Lancaster and Palmdale Sheriff’s Stations.
Today, we honor and pay tribute to Constable Glidden for the sacrifice he made to his community. Constable Glidden’s immediate family has since passed away themselves, but we hold them in our hearts at Lancaster Station. Later today, we will host a private ceremony to honor Constable Glidden.
In the 100 years since his death, Constable Glidden has been joined by seven of his fellow Sheriff’s Deputies who died in the line of duty, protecting the citizens of the Antelope Valley. Our community is lesser for their untimely losses, but we should be eternally grateful for their service and sacrifice.
A tremendous thank you to Deputy Whalen of Lancaster Station for taking the time to research and put together such an in depth account of Constable Glidden’s life. As years have passed, records have been lost, information has been wrong and witnesses are long gone. A big thank you to Deputies Camacho and Sullivan for their wonderful contribution in researching photos we have included.
100 years later, Deputies are still working the same streets that “The Constable” worked.