The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
“Preserving the History of Law Enforcement in the Greater Cincinnati Area”
by Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired)
I first met Dic in February 1976 when I was a probationary Police Officer assigned to a month of “days” in District One Sector Six. Dic was seven years older, had graduated from Withrow in 1965 and U.C. in 1971. He had also worked as a mechanic, a haberdasher, in store security, and in the U.S. Army reserves. His persona was a combination of hardened cop, hilarious comedy, and great wisdom. On February 12th, within one hour, his humor got me my first Internal Investigation interview and his wisdom netted us two armed robbers.
We were laid off in December and Dic returned to District 1 during September 1977. Soon, he was assigned to the covert unit where his legend began. On December 8, 1985, he was promoted to Specialist, issued Badge PS-9, and assigned to the 3-man Pawn Squad. He found and purchased an authentic Cincinnati Detective badge, Number D-9, and carried it for the next 27 years. By then everyone called him “Detective Gross” anyway. Soon, he was a 1-man Pawn Squad, recognized regionally as the “pawn guy”, and singularly responsible for the first online pawn database.
At the funerals for Specialist Jeter and Officer Pope an idea was spurred that caused a meeting to be held in August 1998 where the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society was born, and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum was envisioned. He came to me the next week and asked if I would bring my line of duty death research to the Board. I found there a police chief, captain, police chief, and a number of lieutenants – and Dic was President. After a few years, Dic turned the reins over to another president, but no one ever doubted who was the lead horse.
During August 2001, Specialist Gross was awarded the Rotary Club’s Career Enhancement Award. During 2002, with a vote by his peers, he was inducted into the 1132 Living Legions.
I transferred to CIS in 2001 and we formed the new Major Offenders Unit. Dic still did pawn shops, but he was now a member of the elite Special Investigations Squad and appointed as a Deputy U.S. Marshal to work with embedded ATF agents to go after Armed Career Felons. Within the first three years, the squad accounted for 135 federal cases with a 100% conviction rate. Dic also worked heavily with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Secret Service and worked most of the 99 dignitary protection details in the next five years. The squad also became a de facto fugitive squad and gained so much attention that even the Secret Service came to us with their fugitives; and the U.S. Marshals came to us with SOFAST. During 2008, the HCPA, FOP, and FOPA gave Dic the 2007 Contribution to Law Enforcement Award. I recently introduced Sergeant Jeff Hunt as the boss of that squad, and he confided to all that it was Dic who actually ran it.
Off duty, he dedicated his time to the Sportservice Baseball Detail (where he was also the titular head among higher ranking officers) and to opening the Museum in 2006. He was the first Museum Curator – and served as such until his death.
Detective Gross retired on January 21, 2012 with almost 40 years of service to his country and community and an astounding 57 letters of appreciation and/or commendation.
Four years later, doctors found a spot of melanoma on his thigh. The surgery was not successful. By February 2019, he was in severe pain, but came to the Museum as long as he could. During his last months at the hospital, nursing home, or his home under hospice care, he spoke to me almost exclusively of the Museum. I last saw him on August 11th and he was still telling me where things were at the Museum. In a private, recorded message he told of his greatest memories – the people he worked with at the Police Museum, Sportservice Detail, and Cincinnati Police Department.
We witnessed hundreds of comments on Facebook, including from a Detroit Police Chief, and almost 100 requests to visit him, including three other police chiefs. Hundreds filed past his remains at his visitation, including a federal justice; more attended his FOP service than any other in recent memory; and the next morning’s funeral service was standing room only.
The remains of his body were buried. But his spirit will be often recalled by all who ever knew him.