On November 10, 1951, the air raid sirens wailed during a mock air attack on the city. Twelve motorcycle officers were assigned to take off in all four directions from the Safety Building during the civil defense drill. Officer Vernon White and two other officers were assigned to cruise the lower east side.
The three traveled east on W. State Street with their lights and sirens on. When they approached N. Edison Street, the first motorcycle went through the intersection. As Officer White entered the intersection, a half-ton scrap truck heading southbound also entered the intersection. Officer White hit the brakes and swerved to avoid the truck but hit the right side of it. He was thrown about 20 feet from the bike.
He was semiconscious in the street and taken to County Emergency hospital. He suffered serious internal injuries including broken ribs and a punctured lung. Officer White died two hours later with his wife Agnes at his side.
Officer White was 38-years-old and had been with the Milwaukee Police Department for ten years. He left behind four daughters and his expectant wife.