In the early 1940's, the Town of Cornelius was a small mill town and it was common to have an officer on duty perform other Town duties during a shift like collecting garbage and checking water or power sources.
On December 31, 1942, Officer Ralph Alcorn White was on duty when a storm knocked the power out. Officer White was told to restore the power at a transmission box located at Catawba Ave and Statesville Ave, which is present day Main Street. Unbeknownst to Officer White, the Town of Cornelius had cut a line that supplied power to a large water pump that provided water to the mill. The line had been cut for some time and the lines were left bare. Officer White, who was also an electrician, came in contact with the bare line and was electrocuted to death. Ralph Alcorn White died at the age of 40 years old.
In the past year, Detective Sergeant Tracy Crosby, Detective Corporal Dan Waltman, Detective Brad Nichols and Detective Gina Patterson researched this incident and made contact with Betty Moore, Officer White's 87 year old daughter, who resides in Mooresville. The Detectives work has led to Officer White being recognized by the North Carolina Department of Justice roster of fallen officers. Officer White has also been added to the National Officer Down Memorial Page, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring America's fallen law enforcement heroes.
The Cornelius Police Department will continue to research Officer White and honor his service to the Town of Cornelius.