Family friend remembers Hartsville first African-American police officer killed in line of duty

HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – As part of “Peace Officer Memorial Day” the city of Hartsville is honoring its first African-American officer, Ulysses “Buck” Dobson who was killed in the line of duty.

“And that was the source of pride and all of that we had for him,” said family friend and business owner Franklin Hines.

Dobson was killed in the line of duty more than sixty years ago at the age of 45, according to city officials.

“He loved this community and he proved his love to it as an officer but not only that but as a person,” said Hines.

Franklin Hines owns Hines Funeral Home in Hartsville. He served on city council for more than 20 years. But before that time he recalls his relationship with the Dobson family.

“He had a brother Rufus who was in my class. Then he had two brothers Harold and Harry which were a year older. He also had a sister Janie who was a teacher at the high school I attended,” mentioned Hines.

On April 20, 1953 Dobson responded to a call at a residence in reference to a domestic dispute. The husband of the woman who had been beaten ran into the backyard of the residence and hid when patrolmen arrived at the scene. Dobson ran in pursuit of the man and was shot by the man with a shotgun. Dobson was transported immediately to Byerly Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds the following day. The suspect turned himself in two days following the shooting.

“If there was anything not normal happening in the community he would suspect who must’ve been doing it because he knew everybody,” Hines said.

And though Hines was serving in the military at the time of Dobson’s death he says Dobson had an impact on everyone in the community.

“I mean he was a friend to many of us. He lived here locally. He went to church here locally. It was a sad situation for everybody, all throughout Hartsville”

Because of Hines and the Dobson’s family relationship, the family asked him to move Dobson’s body from the old Hartsville cemetery to a different one in the 1970’s.

“In my lifetime as I know it, it wasn’t taken care of. It was overgrown and everything and so the family wanted it moved so I moved him from there to Greenlawn Cemetery,” Hines said.

Please remember Patrolmen Dobson and his family during National Police Week. To leave a reflection on Dobson’s online memorial follow the link,







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