Patrolman Cleophus J. “Clay” Eifert | Covington Police Department

Badge 53
Age 39
Served at least 6 years

 

Clay was born during December 1906 in Indiana to Sylvester, a church organist, and Catherine (Thines) Eifert. By 1900, the family, including Clay’s three siblings, moved to a church in Covington. By 1930, Clay had married Catherine Barnhorst and worked as a Bricklayer. Before 1940, Clay joined the Covington Police Department, had two children, Joan (9) and Paul (6), and moved to 723 Dalton, 3 doors from his father and next door to his brother, Roman, and his family.

On February 8, 1946, about 6 a.m., Patrolmen Eifert and Larry Olliges responded to a report of a drunken man with a gun at 114 W. 4th Street. This was about 1½ blocks from where Patrolman Eifert grew up as a boy on Blakewell and ¾ of a mile from his current home.

As they climbed the staircase to the third floor, Grover Cleveland Rose shot Patrolman Eifert with a .38 caliber pistol causing damage to his spine and the great vessel of his heart. Patrolman Eifert returned six shots, striking Rose in the face and leg, before collapsing.

Patrolman Eifert was rushed to Booth Memorial Hospital. He died at 6:15 a.m. on the same day.

Patrolman Eifert was survived by his father, Sylvester Eifert; wife, Catherine H. (Barnhorst) Eifert; two children, Joan Eifert (15) and Paul S. Eifert (12); and siblings, Philemon Eifert, Valarie Corby, Rowena Rolfes, and Melanie Petzer. He is buried in Section 14, Lot 31 of Mother of God Cemetery in Covington.

Rose survived his injuries and was charged with Murder. He was found guilty and served only seven years in prison.

Catherine not only lived to see her husband’s murderer released, but lived alone another 33 years after that; passing away in 1986 in Florence.
Patrolman Eifert’s son, Paul S. Eifert, Sr. (1933-1995), joined the Covington Police Department and had a very successful career, retiring as a Police Captain. Patrolman Eifert’s grandson, Paul S. Eifert, Jr., also joined and finished as a Police Sergeant. His great grandson, Chris Gangwish, also joined, was promoted to Police Specialist by 2007, served as the President of the Covington Fraternal Order of Police until 2009, and still serves.

If anyone has information, artifacts, archives, or imagesof this officer or the incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.

 

This narrative was researched and revised February 6, 2015 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President with assistance from Cincinnati Homicide Detective Edward W. Zieverink III (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Historian. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.