Served: 16½ years
March 19, 1908 to July 9, 1924
Tony was born Anton William Tekulve on February 15, 1880 in Cullman, Alabama; the fifth of six children born to German immigrant and shoemaker, Johann (John) Bernard, and Indiana-born Maria (Mary) Anna (Kunst) Tekulve. Since marrying, Johann and Maria lived in Ohio, Indiana, and Alabama before finally settling back in Cincinnati. At an early age, Anton and his parents Americanized their Germanic names.
At 15, Tony joined his father and other Tekulve men in the wooden shoe making business. During his early twenties, he became a grill worker.
Tony joined the Cincinnati Police Department on February 4, 1908 as a Substitute Patrolman, more or less a probationary position which, on average, resulted in promotion to Patrolman in about six months. He was promoted to Patrolman in little more than a month on March 17, 1908.
Within a year he was assigned to be a Mounted Patrolman and also proved to be one of the best pistol shots on the Department. On January 7, 1910 he came within one shot of tying Major J. W. Carroll for the first prize of a solid gold watch at a shoot in the City Hall Target Range and sponsored by the Police Revolver Club. While not attaining the professional level of his 2nd Cousin, Kent Tekulve, Patrolman Tekulve was also a member of the Cincinnati Police Baseball Team.
After working for years in District 1, Patrolman Tekulve was transferred to Headquarters as an Acting Detective. The Detective rank did not exist at that time, per se, so investigative officers were assigned as Acting Detectives until they were no longer effective.
On June 20, 1921, after serving a tour in the United States Army during World War I, William T. Tekulve, Detective Tekulve’s son also joined the Police Department and was assigned to District 6 in the Fulton District.
On June 29, 1924, at 4 p.m., Detective Tekulve and Patrolman Harry Ludwig Haaf responded to a report of two men terrorizing citizens with revolvers at 670 Carr Street. Upon their arrival, they found Henry Brown (45) and Samuel Bromwell of 511 Stone Street. Brown pulled a revolver initiating a firefight. He fired six shots striking Patrolman Haaf in the lower right chest and Detective Tekulve in the jaw and neck and the right forearm. Tekulve returned fire and struck Brown in the arm and Bromwell in the head. Bromwell never got a shot off.
Patrolman Haaf was rushed to the Seton Hospital by private conveyance. From there Patrol 2 removed him to General Hospital. Patrol 4 rushed Detective Tekulve to General Hospital. Patrol 1 transported Bromwell to General Hospital. Brown was arrested.
Bromwell died the next day on June 30, 1924.
Ten days after the incident, on July 9, 1924 at 4:15 p.m., Detective Tekulve died from hemorrhage and sepsis resulting from his wounds.
Detective Tekulve was predeceased by his first wife, Eva Magdalena Tekulve, during April 1922. He was survived by his second wife of 19 months, Alice (Stratton) Tekulve, and children, Cincinnati Patrolman William T. (Helen) Tekulve (25), Stella E. (Erwin W.) Bertelsmann (21), and Ralph Richard Tekulve (18). He was buried in Section 7, Space 160, Spring Grove Cemetery, on July 12, 1924, at 11 a.m.
Brown was charged with, tried for, and convicted of 1st Degree Murder. Ohio law had been revised to remove from the discretion of the judge and jury the option of substituting a prison sentence for a death penalty for the killing of a police officer. Brown was electrocuted on February 20, 1925; less than 8 months after he murdered Detective Tekulve.
Detective Tekulve’s son, Patrolman William Tekulve, continued to serve in District 6, Central Station, and District 4 for another 31 years retiring in 1954.
Patrolman Haaf survived his wound and returned to work four months later during November 1924.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding these officers or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was revised on May 19, 2020 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President with research assistance from Cincinnati Police Administrative Technician MaryLou Berning, Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Board Secretary. All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.