Throughout the history of Madera County, local law enforcement officers have put their lives on the line to protect the community, and from time to time some of them have made the supreme sacrifice. Therefore, it is only fitting that our fallen peace officers be remembered. That is why they built a memorial to them on the east side of the Courthouse Museum and honored them last Wednesday. It is an appropriate tribute for those to whom we owe so much.
In the meantime, we would like to do our part by remembering once again the sacrifice of Bernard (Barney) McCluskey, the first Madera officer to die in the line of duty.
Officer McCluskey’s ordeal began on the evening of Aug. 30, 1919, when Sheriff John Barnett received notice from Fresno that one Ben Obersheim, a 17-year-old youth, had stolen a car and was headed north toward Madera. Barnett alerted McCluskey to be on the lookout for the thief.
About 1 a.m., as McCluskey was making his rounds, he stopped in at the New York Restaurant on South D Street. It was there that he spotted and recognized young Obersheim. Barney arrested the car thief, but he didn’t search or handcuff him. The officer simply grabbed him by the arm and led him away...