unheralded hero

detective bernard wozniak

Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Michigan Central Railroad Police Department

Rank: Detective

Badge:  Unknown

Served: 7 Months

Unit of Assignment / Detail: Unknown

Location of Incident (Present Day): Dearborn, Michigan

Cause of Death: Gun Shot Wound

Age at Time of Death: 25


Date of Birth: 3 November 1892

Date of Appointment: Unknown

Date of Incident: 16 May 1918

End of Watch: 20 May 1918

Date of Interment: Unknown


Unheralded Hero Investigation Began: 23 April 2020

Accepted By Agency: N/A Approved By Then Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad on 20 November 2020 as the incident occurred in their jurisdiction

Approved By National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: December 2020


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Holy Cross Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan
 Grave Location: Section D Lot 58
 Interment Disposition: Burial



 Military Service: No Military Service


Memorial Details

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel 31 West Line 32

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed

Memorial at the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum: Not Listed

Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: Panel Nine East

Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial: Not Listed

Wayne County First Responders Memorial: Not Listed


Incident & Biographic Details

Railroad Detective Bernard Wozniak, Railroad Rody Goe, and Railroad Detective George Ziemba were shot and killed in the Dearborn Yards, near Miller Road in Dearborn, Michigan, while they conducted surveillance with five other detectives.

Earlier in the day, a railroad worker had discovered a pile of stolen tires hidden in the railroad yards. The detectives were alerted and hid near the area to await the return of the thieves.

At approximately 10:00 pm four men were observed approaching the area carrying timber they were going to use to string the tires onto. When Detective Goe shined his light on them and told them to stop, the men immediately opened fire. Detective Goe, Detective Wozniak, and Detective Ziemba were mortally wounded and one other railroad detective non-life-threatening wounds. It is believed that Detective Wozniak was inadvertently struck by a shotgun blast fired by another detective as he ran up an embankment.

The other detectives returned fire but did not strike the suspects as they fled. Detective Wozniak succumbed to his wounds on May 20th, 1918, and Detective Ziemba succumbed to his on May 25th, 1918.

Two of the suspects were apprehended the following night. Both men were convicted of Detective Goe's murder and sentenced to life in prison. On November 21st, 1918, one of the men escaped from the state prison in Jackson. It is not known if he was ever recaptured.

Detective Wozniak was survived by his parents, three sisters and brother. He was buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.