Reserve Deputy Sheriff
James Richard 'Rick' Hirtzel
Jackson County Sheriff's Department
Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Age: 55
Served: 32 years
Badge #: 36-32
Panel 35W, Line 33 (2022)
Included (2022)

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Duty-related illness
Date/Time of Incident:
Saturday, July 31, 2021

Incident to Death Duration:
73 days
Incident Location:
476 East County Road 100 South, Brownstown
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
Suspect Disposition:
Burial Place:
Riverview Cemetery, Seymour

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   Reserve Deputy Sheriff James Hirtzel died from complications after contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during an ongoing global pandemic.

   After becoming infected while working during the Jackson County Fair, he was hospitalized before being transferred to Kindred Hospital in Indianapolis, a long-term acute care facility, where he remained until he passed away.

   Reserve Deputy Sheriff Hirtzel, from Seymour, was survived by his wife, Julie (née Peacher); son, Dwight; daughter, Chelsea; father, Morris; two brothers, Joel and Karl (Diane); and two sisters, Leeann (Mike) Kelley and Katrina.

Military Service

United States Air Force

Historical Notes

• Reserve Deputy Sheriff Hirtzel is the sixth of eight Indiana line of duty deaths in 2021.
• He is the first line of duty death of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
• His line of duty death is the fifth that has originated from Jackson County.
As of February 1, 2024, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused 1,180,042 deaths in the United States and 26,307 deaths in Indiana. From November 2020 through January 2021, the deadliest wave was responsible for 7,140 deaths with the highest occurring in December 2020 when 3,038 died statewide. The pandemic has caused 874 known law enforcement officer deaths in the United States.

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Reserve Deputy Sheriff James Richard 'Rick' Hirtzel - Jackson County Sheriff's Department -