Motorcycle Patrolman Harry E. Rose | Covington Police Department

Age: 44½
Served: 3¼ years
July 16, 1935 to November 10, 1938


Harry was born in Covington on April 29, 1894 to Mr. and Mrs. Luther Rose. His mother died before he was six. He worked as a Brakeman for the C&O Railroad, where his father clerked, until he joined the Covington Fire Department. On July 16, 1935 he transferred to the Covington Police Department. Patrolman Rose was assigned to the Motorcycle Squad during October 1936. He was hailed as one of the most popular members of the Department and credited with being partially responsible for a reduction of auto accidents in Covington.

On November 9, 1938 Patrolman Rose sat on his motorcycle in the driveway of the Hotel Hahn at 1424 Dixie Highway. At 2 p.m., a speeder drove past him northbound on Dixie Highway. He looked down the highway and saw a southbound vehicle about 150 feet away in the curb lane and entered the highway in pursuit, crossing the first two lanes. Before he could get to the third lane, the vehicle, driven by J. F. Jarman (28) of Norwood, Ohio, swerved to the left and crashed into Patrolman Rose and his motorcycle. His left leg was nearly severed above the ankle and his right leg was fractured below the hip. He also suffered a fractured skull and crushed chest. The motorcycle and auto were nearly demolished.

Patrolman Rose was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital where he made a dying declaration as to how the crash occurred. Chief Alfred F. Schild questioned Jarman whose account was essentially the same, though he asserted that the impact occurred in the second lane. Covington Motorcycle Patrolman Robert Spanton investigated the accident and determined that the collision occurred in the third lane. Jarman was charged with Assault and Battery.

Patrolman Rose died the next morning, November 10, 1938 at 4:55 a.m..

Patrolman Rose left a wife, Norma (Dunhoff) Rose (43), and a son, Robert Rose. Visitation was held at the John N. Middendorf Sons funeral home. A requiem high Mass sung on Saturday, November 12, 1938 at 9 o’clock at St. Patrick Church, 4th and Philadelphia Streets. Chief Schild designated Patrolmen Sam Landrum, Stanley Hughes, William Murphy, Robert Owens, William Telford, and Harry Cooper as pallbearers. A 17-man detail, led by Lieutenant Edward Beebe, escorted the cortege to the Covington city limits. He was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Fort Mitchell. Norma went to work as a seamstress and lived another 53 years without her husband, passing away in 1993.

The charge against Jarman was upgraded to Manslaughter. Jarman was scheduled for a hearing on November 16, 1938 in front of Judge John B. Reed in Kenton County Court and he was released on $1000 bond. We do not know the outcome of the case.

Patrolman Rose’s death recalled the death of Motorcycle Patrolman David Rogers in 1923 on Madison Pike near 26th Street and the right leg amputation of Motorcycle Patrolman William Harrigan at 8th Street and Madison Avenue. By 1938, almost every officer who has been a member of the Motorcycle Squad had been injured or killed in accidents, including Lieutenant Harry Maines, said to be the best motorcycle drivers. Several officers had been injured in two or three accidents. On November 11, 1938, Mayor H. A. Knollmann and some of the city commissioners were considering replacing the motorcycles with coupes. Chief Schild opined that coupes would not be as effective as motorcycles in traffic enforcement. We do not know the outcome of the motorcycle discussion in Covington, but the discussion was identical across the river in Cincinnati where motorcycle officers were also being injured and killed in accidents.

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This narrative was revised October 28, 2014, by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President, based largely on research and information provided by Cincinnati Homicide Detective Edward W Zieverink III (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Historian. All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.