Let us pause to remember our fallen hero Officer John W. Leatherbury, Jr., lost this day in 1968.
Officer Leatherbury was born on October 10, 1941. He was raised in Anne Arundel County. When he graduated from high school, he served with honor and distinction in the United States Navy. Officer Leatherbury joined the Prince George's County Police Department in 1965 and was assigned to the Seat Pleasant station.
In March of 1968, Officer Leatherbury was one of five officers to volunteer for an experimental aviation program. The program was a partnership between the department and an aviation company to evaluate the feasibility of the PGPD forming a permanent aviation unit.
On the evening of March 21, 1968, Officer Leatherbury was aboard a helicopter that was called to assist patrol units with a possible breaking and entering in progress at a Hillcrest Heights bank. After the scene was cleared, the helicopter unfortunately struck an overhead power line as it departed. It crashed into the upper level of the Iverson Mall parking garage, killing Officer Leatherbury and the civilian pilot.
Officer Leatherbury served the Prince George's County Police Department for three years and was the fifth member of the agency to make the ultimate sacrifice. He was the seventh law enforcement officer to give his life in service to this profession within Prince George's County.
At the time of his death, Officer John Leatherbury, Jr., was 26 years old and survived by his wife.