Served: Almost 30 years
December 1, 1913 to August 21, 1943
George was born August 1, 1891 to an electrician, William P. Dooley, and Clara (Heltman) Dooley of Northside. He worked as a machinist until 1913.
George joined the Cincinnati Police Department on December 1, 1913 as a Substitute Patrolman. He was promoted to Patrolman on March 14, 1914 and assigned as a traffic officer at Peeble’s Corner.
Four years later, during July 1918, Patrolman Dooley joined the United States Army to fight in World War I. A month after he enlisted, on August 7, 1918, a metal service flag with one blue star was hung at Peebles Corner in honor of the popular officer. By September he was in Battery F of the 12th Field Artillery Regiment fighting in the involved in the 47-day and final World War I Battle of Argonne Forest and remained there almost to the end of the war. He was honorably discharged August 14, 1919.
Patrolman Dooley returned to the Police Department and to Peebles Corner and continued as such until 1925.
During 1925, dozens of Cincinnati Police employees were prosecuted under the Volstead Act (Prohibition) and another hundred or so were being investigated administratively. Sergeant Albert Meyer was demoted, and Patrolman Dooley was promoted to fill his vacancy on May 1, 1925. The new 34-year-old sergeant quickly became recognized as an outstanding supervisor.
After the bootleg-liquor-involved murder of John Schrof in Cherry Alley (off Plum Street) on June 22, 1925, Sergeant Dooley led Detectives Herman Reichman and Lee Flaugher in the successful investigation, confession, and arrest of Gene Bockel.
He was appointed Sergeant of Detectives within one year of his promotion. During May 1927, Detective Sergeant Dooley and Detective Schwach investigated and successfully prosecuted the murder of Patrolman Olin Wilson. Chief of Police William Copelan also occasionally assigned him as Acting Chief of Detectives or Acting Night Chief.
Detective Sergeant Dooley was always a ‘cop’s cop’, engaged directly in the activities of his personnel. Even as the Acting Night Chief, on August 15, 1927, he was wounded in a gun battle between a police squad and four safe robbers. One of the burglars’ bullets went through his arm. He was also one of the arresting officers of “King of the Bootleggers” George Remus on October 6, 1927 after Remus famously murdered his wife. During his confession, Remus reenacted the murder for Sergeant Dooley.
After three years as a sergeant, he was promoted to lieutenant on March 1, 1928 and assigned to District 2 (314 Broadway). Little more than three years later, Lieutenant Dooley had the 2nd highest score on the first promotional examination conducted without an oral portion (per state law). Within a month, when Major Charles F. Easton suddenly died, Lieutenant Dooley was promoted to captain on December 16, 1941 and assigned as Superintendent of the Fourth District (754 W. 5th Street). By 1943, Police Chief Eugene T. Weatherly considered his 52-year-old captain to be one of his most proficient administrators.
He had been a captain only 1½ years when his wife, Helen “Nell” (Green) Dooley, suffered a heart attack on June 14, 1943. She was rushed to Bethesda Hospital and died three days later on June 17, 1943. Nell was buried in St. Joseph (New) Cemetery on June 18th. No one could have known at the time that her husband would be laid beside her in less than ten weeks.
Jesse James Anderson was born April 1, 1911 in McKenney, Kentucky. Doctor E. A. Baber, Superintendent of Longview Hospital, said that Jesse Anderson came from Lincoln County, Kentucky and was committed to Longview in 1937. He had been permitted to leave in the custody of his sister in 1938 and was discharged by the hospital in 1939. Anderson was recommitted to Longview in 1941.
On June 10, 1943, his sister, Anna Belle O’Conner, checked him out of Longview Hospital on a 7-day pass. She did not return him on June 16th as agreed. With only one social worker and 2888 patients, the hospital lost track of Anderson – for more than two months.
On Saturday, August 21, 1943, O’Conner called police to her mineral water store at 519 W. 5th Street, near Smith Street (now replaced by the Fourth Street entrance ramp to I-75). She reported that Anderson had taken a pistol from her cash register and threatened to kill her and/or commit suicide.
Station X (police communications) dispatched Patrolmen Walter Sand and William Newbert who were assigned to one of the few patrol cars in that era. The store was just a couple of blocks from the Fourth District. Captain Dooley heard the dispatch. He knew Anderson and thought he could help diffuse the situation. Still a cop’s cop, he directed Patrolman Leroy Brown to take him to the scene.
On the way, Sand and Neubert’s patrol car was struck by a vehicle operated by Marie Strunk and overturned at Central Parkway and Race Street. Captain Dooley and Patrolman Brown arrived on 5th Street without backup.
As they started through a passageway toward the rear yard, Anderson fired two quick shots from the rear yard and both officers fell. Captain Dooley was shot through the heart and died instantly. Patrolman Brown was shot through the right side of the neck, between the windpipe and jugular vein.
Patrolman Brown was rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital where he was found to have a severed jugular vein and was immediately transferred to General Hospital in serious condition.
Riot squads were dispatched to the scene. The neighborhood was surrounded by police armed with machine guns (probably Model 1921/1928 Thompson submachine guns). Anderson barricaded himself in an outhouse. Detective Sergeant George Ebbers fired a gas bomb into the privy. Anderson fled the outhouse with a Spanish-made revolver in his hand and fired at Sergeant Harry Singleton and Patrolman Frank Magin. He was met with a fusillade of police bullets; six of which stuck him in the head and chest. During the two shooting incidents, Anderson fired all six shots from the revolver.
Captain Dooley was predeceased by his wife and youngest brother, James E. Dooley. He was survived by his parents, William P. and Clara (Heltman) Dooley; daughter, Rosemary Dooley (13); and siblings, William P. Dooley, Jr., Mrs. Clara (Herbert) Vonderheide, Mrs. Cecilia (Frederick) Wolf, and Joseph Dooley.
Captain Dooley was laid out at Charles A. Miller Sons Funeral Home at 4138 Hamilton Avenue on August 24, 1943. On Wednesday, August 25, 1943 at 10 a.m., a requiem high mass was celebrated at the Church of Our Lord Christ the King on Linwood Avenue (near Delta Avenue). His pallbearers were Captains Walter Martin, George Pearcy, Willard Elbert, Mack Hall, and Walter Fricke and Lieutenant George Ertel (Captain Dooley’s successor). Honorary pallbearers included Captain Patrick Hayes, Lieutenants John Oman and Harry Tobertge, and Detectives Albert Schwach, Adolph Mezger, and John Tebbe. He was buried in St. Joseph New Cemetery on August 25, 1943 next to his wife.
An abundance of flowers from his funeral were distributed to area hospitals, some of which found their way in Patrolman Brown’s room as he recuperated in General Hospital. Patrolman Brown survived his wound, but his voice was affected the rest of his life. He returned to his career and was later promoted to Detective then to Sergeant and retired twenty years after being shot, in 1963.
Captain Dooley is the highest-ranking Cincinnati officer to have died in the line of duty. As a command officer, he was not expected to personally protect the lives of citizens or to back up those who were, but he did, sacrificing his life for his community. His brother was an engineer who worked for the City of Cincinnati. Cincinnati City Council named William P. Dooley Bypass after the engineer. None is named for the hero.
To remind viewers for all time that he served as a police captain, during 2022 his grandson, Mathew J. Reis, had Captain Dooley’s badge engraved into his monument.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was revised on July 19, 2018 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Memorial Committee Chairman. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society