Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Correctional Officers Week: Honoring our fallen

Deputy Edward Innes
EOW 9/27/1906
MESA COUNTY, Colo - This Correctional Officer’s Week the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office honors and remembers the sacrifice made by Edward Innes, the first law enforcement officer to lay down his life in the line of duty in Mesa County.

On September 26, 1906, Deputy Edward Innes was struck from behind with a piece of wood and became the first Mesa County law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty. Inmate George McGarvey, jailed since April 1, 1906 on charges of attempting to criminally assault a nine–year-old girl, used the attack on Innes to escape the Mesa County Jail. 28-year-old Innes passed away the following day.

First Mesa County Jail
McGarvey was captured by DeBeque rancher William McDowell on September 30 and then tried on October 3. He was convicted on October 4 and sentenced to death by hanging on October 5, 1906. A swift justice for what was described as one of the foulest deeds enacted in Grand Junction.

Edward Innes, a resident of Grand Junction since the age of four, was the only child of William and Lucy Innes. Edward’s father was the first elected Sheriff of the newly formed Mesa County from 1885 to 1886. Edward was Chief of the Grand Junction Fire Department for several years prior to his employment in the Mesa County Jail. When William Innes passed away November 28, 1926, it was noted that Edward was “named to the responsible position of Undersheriff.” No other mention of this title has been found.

Although Edward never married and had no children, descendants of the Innes clan can be found throughout the country, including Harold Daniels of Grand Junction whose mother Josie was Edward’s cousin. Harold and his wife Claudelle attended Edward Innes’ induction into the Colorado Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial on May 5, 2000 at the Colorado State Patrol Academy.

Several years later, the request was made to add Edward Innes to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial. The request was granted on February 13, 2007. The name of Edward Innes was unveiled on May 13, 2007 at the 19th annual candlelight vigil as part of the National Police Week celebration in Washington, D.C.

As referred to by family and friends of Edward in a Daily Sentinel article dating September 28, 1906 – His character was above reproach, his disposition was such that drew to him readily warm friends that never wavered in their regard for him. True hearted, high and noble in his impulses and faithful to his friends there is little wonder that he was popular and there is little wonder the entire city should be stirred with indignation and anger over his tragic death at the hands of the vilest of criminals that was ever confined in a Mesa County prison.

In December of 2017, Innes was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Family members still living in Colorado accepted the award on his behalf.

Following Correctional Officers Week tradition, a wreath first displayed in the Mesa County Sheriff's Office lobby, will be placed on Edward Innes' grave to honor and remember his sacrifice.