North Tonawanda has honored two city police officers who died in the line of duty with memorial signs in their names. Each sign has been erected near the location where they served the city.
A sign honoring Capt. Arthur M. Beilein, who died on Oct. 9, 1949, was installed at the intersection of Pinewoods Drive and Louisa Parkway, while one honoring fallen Officer Albert J. Kasbaum, who died on Aug. 18, 1919 was installed at Erie Avenue and Niagara Falls Boulevard.
According to information provided by the Officer Down Memorial Page, Kasbaum, died at age 36. He was shot and killed by two auto thieves after he stopped their vehicle on Erie Avenue. The pair had reportedly stolen the car in Lewiston.
Kasbaum, who had been alerted that the car was stolen, jumped into the back seat of the car and, at gunpoint, ordered the men to drive to the North Tonawanda Police Department. But as the car drove away, the passenger suddenly turned around and shot Kasbaum four times. Mortally wounded, he returned fire and struck the driver in the hip. The passenger was able to get out of the car and stole Kasbaum’s motorcycle, which parked on the road nearby. The suspect fled to Niagara Falls where he committed suicide. The wounded driver was arrested and charged with Kasbaum’s murder.
Beilein died in 1949 after being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes, according to his biography on the Officer Down Memorial Page. He died on his 58th birthday after serving the North Tonawanda Police Department for 25 years.
In a time before carbon monoxide testers, Beilein had responded to a home where a body was found and he believed the homeowner had suffered a heart attack.
Beilein stayed at the scene waiting for the coroner. As he waited, another man at the scene collapsed. Yet as emergency workers were called, he still believed he had witnessed a second man suffering a heart attack. Beilein collapsed a short time later and died.
Information about all law enforcement heroes who died in the line is duty is available on the Officer Down Memorial Page at www.odmp.org.