ATLANTIC CITY- On this date, 58 years ago– Monday, April 23, 1962– Atlantic City Police Officer Clayton Graham was shot and killed in the line of duty. But exactly 18 years — to the month and day– before he was shot and killed in the line of duty in Atlantic City, Officer Graham was wounded in combat fighting, the Japanese Army in Dutch New Guiana, at Humbolt Bay, (now Indonesia) on April 23, 1944. Officer Graham, 42, was a U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
His service with the Atlantic City Police Department spanned 14 years. At the time of his line of duty death he was survived by his wife Beatrice and their five children. Beatrice became a widow at 29 years old with the couple’s five children.
Retired Atlantic City Police Officer Michael Graham was just 18 months old when his father, Clayton Graham Sr., became the first Atlantic City police officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty, on April 23, 1962. Beatrice would later marry Atlantic City Police Officer Henry “Hank” Tyner, who had four children from his first marriage. The couple would have a son and Michael Graham would have a brother— Damon Tyner. Hank Tyner would serve in the Atlantic City Police Department for 30 years and retire at the rank of an Inspector.
Although Michael Graham did not get to know his father before he was shot and killed in the line of duty, he said his father’s memory inspired him to seek a career in law enforcement and he felt a calling to be a public servant and a police officer.
“His death inspired and motivated me. His line of duty death made me want to follow in his footsteps even more. I never had fear. I only wanted to follow in his footsteps and be the best police officer I could be,” said Michael Graham.
Officer Graham’s son Clayton Graham serves as a Criminal Superior Court Judge in Indianapolis, Indiana, son Charles Graham is a retired Group Supervisory Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, daughter Michelle Fauntleroy is a retired school teacher, daughter Cheryl Graham is employed at the Atlantic City Police Department and Michael Graham now serves as an Agent at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Clayton G. Graham Public Safety Building in Atlantic City was named for Officer Graham in 1998.
Thank you for your service to our country and community, Officer Graham, gone, but NEVER FORGOTTEN!