The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
“Preserving the History of Law Enforcement in the Greater Cincinnati Area”
The Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society
Numerous times over the 120 years, the concept of a police museum and/or research library has been discussed, sometimes even formally in staff studies and once as a collaborative effort with the Hamilton County Police Association. The Cincinnati Police Department, and later the Cincinnati Police Federal Credit Union, even collected a few artifacts. But, no museum ensued.
During the 1990s, several police artifact collectors informally discussed pooling their collections for the purpose of a museum. These included Cincinnati Police Detective Richard W. Gross, Lieutenant Patrick Olvey, and Sergeants Thomas Waller and Rand Adams. After Cincinnati Police Officers Daniel Pope and Ronald Jeter were murdered in 1997, Christine Saunders, the mother of Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Steven Saunders, asked why there was no place to honor police officers; not just those who died in their service, but all officers. The group of collectors, Mrs. Saunders, and other interested people from various agencies met in August 1998. Their first decision was that there was no way to tell the history of the Police Department without telling the history of law enforcement in the entire region. Thus, the GREATER Cincinnati Police Historical Society was born.
They continued to meet, adopted a vision and organizational structure, and incorporated themselves in July 1999 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable (declination) corporation. Detective Gross was elected as its first president and served as such for the next six years. Their adopted mission:
To convey an understanding of aspects and history of law enforcement, we aspire to become the area’s principal repository for related artifacts by operating a library, archives, and research facility which will encourage study into and inspire appreciation of law enforcement.
The Cincinnati Police Federal Credit Union provided to the Society with warehouse space in which to store artifacts, display cases, and other items as they were acquired. By 2001, the Society signed a lease with the Credit Union for the warehouse space with the intention of renovating it into a temporary museum site. Architectural drawings were rendered. Contractors were hired. With donations of time, material, and cash, construction began in 2002.
Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
After decades of talking about and studying the idea, seven years of formally planning it, and four years of construction and fund raising, almost all by volunteers, in July 2006, Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas H. Streicher, Jr., Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis, and Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn cut the ribbon formally opening the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.
And, the area had another first. The all-volunteer staff works diligently and almost daily to obtain, identify, preserve, and interpret more than 10,000 law enforcement artifacts and archives and to research the history of more than 160 local, township, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies serving some 600 documented communities in Boone, Butler, Campbell, Clermont, Dearborn, Hamilton, Kenton, and Warren Counties of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. We are the only regional law enforcement museum in the world and one of the very few in the country that operates without accepting municipal or state taxes.
The Museum has hosted events, workshops, and meetings of other historical societies and groups. Its volunteers conduct presentations to school groups, scouting groups, community groups, retirement homes, etc., either at the Museum or on location. We attend National Night Out each year and police station open houses as they occur.
The Museum also researches and documents the deaths of some 205 local, state, and federal officers who have given their lives in their service to Greater Cincinnati communities. A memorial wall appears within the museum and we believe it is also the only regional, interstate memorial to fallen officers in the world. And the Museum documents much of this history and the most in-depth narratives of any on-line Line of Duty Death memorial within these page; the such on-line memorial in the world.
Some 19 years after those first meetings, some of our founders, now retired, are still involved. Detective Richard Gross is now our Curator. Lieutenant Stephen Kramer is our Archivist. Mrs. Saunders still volunteers when she is in town.
The Historical Society will be celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2019, and in those few years we have fulfilled the vision of becoming the area’s principal, if not only, regional repository for related artifacts, records, and research resources of law enforcement.
The all-volunteer staff continues to work to conserve and enhance the historic environment of law enforcement, broaden public access, and increase understanding of policing now and in the past. The Museum is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The mission of The Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society is to convey an understanding of aspects and history of law enforcement. We aspire to become the area’s principal repository for related artifacts by operating a library, archives and research facility which will encourage study into and inspire appreciation of law enforcement.
The Museum obtains artifacts and researches the history of more than one hundred local, township, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies serving more than 600 documented communities in Boone, Butler, Campbell, Clermont, Dearborn, Hamilton, Kenton, and Warren Counties of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Our vision is to expand considerably and include the following:
- Maintain, and operate a museum and special collections library;
- Systematically collect, preserve, display, and interpret materials and artifacts relating to local and regional law enforcement;
- Encourage study into and research of law enforcement by maintaining a library, archives, and research facilities at the museum;
- Cooperate with other historical, cultural, and educational institutions in furthering a pride and interest in local and regional law enforcement in present and future generations;
- Feature temporary exhibits on history and material culture related to local and regional law enforcement;
- Serve all members of the community with an outlet to learn about law enforcement;
- Assume a special commitment to serving the educational interest of children through a cooperative effort