Sheriff: Sgt. Cox ‘dedicated’ and ‘passionate’ about the job

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s still not known exactly how Allen County Sheriff’s Sergeant Joe Cox died. He was found unconscious in his car while on duty Sunday night. On Wednesday, Sheriff David Gladieux spoke about the officer and friend he had in Cox.

The two knew each other well. Both were K9 officers and on the SWAT team together.

“Joe was just in this office last week,” Sheriff Gladieux said.

The sergeant, husband, father of six and grandfather will now receive a funeral with full police and military honors. The 19-year-veteran will also be called off duty for the last time Saturday during his funeral procession.

“He was a very dedicated, very dedicated officer,” Gladieux said. “He was also a dedicated man to number one his family.”

Gladieux went into detail about Sunday night’s timeline. He said Cox was one of three officers who responded to the scene of an unmanned horse and buggy and vehicle crash around 8:30 p.m. in Northwest Allen County. He said the driver of the buggy had fallen off before the wreck and was hurt.

No more than an hour later Cox left the home of a family member of the buggy driver.

“Suddenly at full rate the vehicle went backwards at full acceleration, crashing through a fence and out into a field approximately 70 yards out,” Gladieux said. “It then became stuck in the mud. The engine was still running at a high rate.”

First responders started CPR at the scene, but first had to break the window of Cox’s cruiser to get it unlocked since it was still in gear. Cox was then pronounced dead at the hospital around 10:30 pm.

“The department itself is in a state of shock,” Gladieux said.

However, officers are getting by with the support of the public and from other law enforcement agencies.

“I’ve had the Fort Wayne Police Department step up to the plate, State Police, New Have Police, the Department of Natural Resources have also reached out and been involved with offering to cover our area,” Gladieux said.

The coroner’s office is still waiting on test results to release a cause of death. Gladieux said Cox was in a wreck while on duty about a month ago where he received a head injury, but doesn’t know if that’s related to his incident.

Calling is 1 to 7 p.m. Friday at Blackhawk Ministries, 7400 E. State Blvd. His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church, with calling one hour prior. Then a procession will begin after the funeral through Downtown where he will get called off duty for the last time in front of the courthouse. It will end at Concordia Cemetery Gardens where Cox will be buried.