END OF WATCH: May 19, 1956
Cleveland Police Department
Patrolman Haydu was a ten year veteran of the Cleveland Police Department. During his youth in Pennsylvania, he knew he was destined for a career in police work. Haydu was an avid reader of detective stories, researching through advertisements what was needed to become one of the detectives he read so much about. He was a hardworking man helping to support his family by working the coal mines of Pennsylvania. His athletic skills garnered him a football scholarship, which he turned down. Haydu chose to serve his country in World War II, performing a tour of duty in the Philippines with the Navy.
Haydu knew first-hand the dangers inherent on the city streets, but he never turned away. He was instrumental in assisting a break up of a youth gang who took pleasure in looting automobiles. He was assaulted in 1952 after arresting several men for drunkenness. Officer Haydu’s heroism shone brightly in September of 1955 when he captured two robbers for separate incidents on the same day. Haydu was on traffic duty when he heard shots, saw a man running, and immediately gave chase. Haydu apprehended the man after a two-block run. Shortly thereafter, Haydu captured a man who had stolen money from an accountant of a local business.
The heroic career of Officer Haydu ended on Saturday, May 19, 1956, at the hands of Frank Williams. Williams held a clerk of Kresge’s Department Store at gunpoint and demanded money. The clerk yelled out the store’s designated code for a hold-up which alerted the store’s security guard. Officer Haydu, noticing the situation in progress, gave chase. Catching up to Williams, Haydu attempted to wrestle the gun from Williams when he was fatally shot.
Joseph Haydu was survived by his estranged wife Lois, two daughters Joan and Stephanie. Officer Haydu was buried with full military honors at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Joseph Haydu’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. panel 47, west wall, line 11.
By Recruit Henry L. Jackson, Cleveland Police Academy