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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 3, 2012


Contact: Public Affairs Division

(202) 648-8500

BIA Honors First Native American ATF Investigator Killed 76 Years Ago

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is proud to announce that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Indian Country Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (ICLEOM), in Artesia, N.M., today honored ATF’s first Native American post-Prohibition era investigator killed in the line of duty. The name of William Louis Pappan, killed 76 years ago on Dec. 4, 1935, was unveiled on the ICLEOM during BIA’s annual commemorative ceremony for fallen tribal, state, local and federal law enforcement officers. ATF Deputy Assistant Director John Torres, Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, provided remarks during the ceremony.

ATF discovered information concerning Pappan’s service while researching information regarding the fallen. In September 2010, ATF presented its Gold Star Medal to members of the Pappan family during a BIA-National Native American Law Enforcement Association event. In May 2011, Pappan’s name was engraved on ATF’s Memorial Wall and on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington.

ATF is proud to join the BIA-ICLEOM in paying tribute to William Pappan’s dedication and sacrifice, Torres said. His bravery and courageous service on behalf of this country will never be forgotten.

Pappan was the first ATF Kaw Nation federal investigator; the first Native American ATF investigator killed in the line of duty; and one of three Native American ATF investigators who served during Prohibition and the post-Prohibition era. Pappan joined the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Alcohol Tax Unit, an ATF precursor, in August 1935. He was killed four months later in Tulsa, Okla.

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