End of Watch: Kenneth Baldwin

Officer Kenneth Baldwin

Okaloosa County Airports Police Department, Florida

End of Watch Friday, September 11, 1987

In 1962, Kenneth Baldwin, a 17-year-old kid from Columbus, Mississippi, found himself in serving in the U. S. Army in Vietnam. He eventually promoted to sergeant, earning several commendation medals.

In 1982, he retired from the Army and, with his wife, Sukanya and two children, Kenneth Jr. – 15 and Sherry – 13, moved to the town of Fort Walton Beach. In early 1986, he began a second career as an airport police officer at the Okaloosa Air Terminal. On Christmas Eve 1986, Officer Baldwin was one of the team of Okaloosa officers that captured and arrested three men in cocaine-related charges at the terminal.

On September 11, 1987, the small Okaloosa Air Terminal airport had closed for the night and Officer Baldwin was the lone officer on duty for the shift. At 1:50 AM, the 42-year-old Officer called in and made a routine security check. It would be his last. Forty minutes later, a newspaper deliveryman found his body in front of the terminal. He had been shot five times in the upper body and then run over on his shoulder and facial area.

It appeared that a vehicle had pulled up in front of the terminal when Officer Baldwin approached it. There is no indication that anything other than assisting the public is what Baldwin was doing. The automobile tire tracked his blood 20-30 feet from his body. Because the crime was committed on airport property, the FBI conducted the murder investigation, assisted by the Air Force Officer of Special Investigations, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department. FBI Agent Doug Jones and his team put every available agent on the case. Officer Baldwin’s keys, radio, gun and wallet were undisturbed. Nothing was missing from outside or inside the terminal. No motive or suspect was ever identified, and the case remains unsolved.

Officer Kenneth Baldwin

#oldpolicestories

Published by Mike Simmons

I am a retired sergeant with the Pensacola Police Department. I currently work as a coordinator at the George Stone Criminal Justice Training Center. I am married to the former Jerri Crabtree. We have three grown children and seven grandchildren. I volunteer with a boys' mentoring program known as "Royal Rangers."

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