Former Ross Township police chief Dwight Gutherie dies
Thursday, May 14, 2020 | 1:57 PM
A long-time Ross Township police officer who rose through the ranks to lead the department during the 1980s has died.
Dwight J. Guthrie of Ross died May 11, 2o20, from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 86.
Born in Glad Run Hollow in Brandonville, W.Va., Mr. Guthrie’s rise from poverty was no easy feat, said his granddaughter Rachel Surgent.
“He left is home in West Virginia at the age of 14 with only 50 cents in his pocket,” she said. “He headed to Erie and eventually found his way to Pittsburgh, where he joined the Marine Corps.”
Following his military service, Mr. Guthrie joined the Ross Township Police Department in 1955.
During his 43-year career in law enforcement, Mr. Guthrie became the township’s first juvenile officer and founded the Block Parent Program that was active during the 1970s.
“Families would keep a sign in their window that let runaway children know that they could go there as a safe house, helping youth runaways and children escape from unpleasant situations,” Surgent said.
Mr. Guthrie was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1966. He also served as a detective and was part of the team that investigated the 1976 case involving Jill DeJohn, who was accused of shooting her husband to death.
Mr. Guthrie earned an associate degree in criminal justice from the Community College of Allegheny County in 1972 and attended the FBI National Academy for law enforcement in 1982.
He was appointed Ross police chief in 1983 and remained in the position until his retirement in 1989.