The Norman Transcript


October 20, 2013

Norman police mark 50th anniversary of detective’s death

NORMAN — On the same Sunday afternoon that the nation bid farewell to President John F. Kennedy, Norman police officers said goodbye to one of their own.

Lt. Jerry Bratcher, a 29-year-old police detective, died in a crash on Old No. 9 highway (now Alameda Avenue).

Bratcher was returning from a stolen vehicle investigation on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24, when a car driven by a 19-year-old Norman man turned in front of him. A 20-year-old OU student, Gerald Wesley Byram, was a passenger in the 19-year-old’s car. Byram and Bratcher died at St. Anthony Hospital. The driver and a passenger in Bratcher’s car were injured.


Bratcher became the first Norman police officer to die in the line of duty. Other local peace officers had died but they were county deputies. Since then, two other Norman police officers — Melvin Miner and Dale DeBerry — have died in the line of duty.

Norman police officers will take note of Bratcher’s 1963 death by wearing specially designed lapel pins on their uniforms for the year beginning Nov. 1. Bratcher’s family included his wife, a son and two daughters. Lt. Bratcher’s grandson, Jeremy Bratcher, became a Norman police officer in 2009.

The pin will be a replica of Bratcher’s badge with his “end of watch” date of Nov. 24, 1963.

“It looks like his badge.”


Police Sgt. Tim Smith said fellow officers are looking forward to wearing the pins. No officer serving today served with Bratcher. Many retired officers remember him.

“I think they’re getting excited about it. The closest one that any of us remember is Dale (DeBerry) who died on Dec. 1, 1998.”

The department ordered 200 of the commemorative pins for officers and another batch to sell for the memorial fund. Smith reached out to the family of the OU student killed in the crash. He plans to send them a pin and newspaper reports of the crash.

All fallen officers will be honored in May but the 50th anniversary of the first death is special, Smith said.

“We always say we will never forget them,” said Smith. “So this will remind us that we really never forget.”

Andy Rieger


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Protect your home from wildfires

    To most people, fuel is what you put into your gas tank. To firefighters, it means something altogether different. To people who make a living putting out fires, fuel is that material that feeds wildfires — and there is an abundance of it ...

    April 12, 2014

  • League of Women Voters meeting

    Editor, The Transcript: On Saturday, May 10, the Norman League of Women Voters will hold its annual meeting at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 601 24th Ave. SW, Norman, OK, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm....

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense

    Say this about the deal announced Thursday for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable: It’s big. Big price tag of $45 billion. Big combined subscriber base of 30 million households. And big risk of a veto from government antitrust regulators....

    April 12, 2014

  • Solid evidence within ice record

    In his November 10 Letter, Gary Reynolds misstated information in the October 27 op-ed by Catherine Hobbs, “New report says global warming is “unequivocal.” Mr. Reynolds incorrectly stated that Dr. Hobbs cited evidence from the 2007 UN ...

    April 12, 2014