Served: 10 years
August 5, 1925 to October 1, 1935
Howard was born March 9, 1894 in Cincinnati to Edward “Eddie” (a machinist) and Carolyn “Carrie” (Zielman) Beitman. He attended public grade school for seven years and worked as a chauffeur for two years and as a conductor for five and one-half years.
Howard was appointed as a Substitute Patrolman in the Cincinnati Police Department on August 5, 1925, issued Badge Number 673, and assigned to District 2 (314 Broadway). On June 2, 1926 he was promoted to Regular Patrolman and assigned to the Traffic Section, Safety Patrol as a Motorcycle Patrolman at the 9th Street Station.
During 1927, Patrolman Beitman served for a time as Acting Detective. During Christmas, he and Motor Patrolman Marcellus Abel would drive cars lent by area dealership and pick up children from the Crippled Children’s School on Rockdale and take them to Mabley and Carew downtown where Christmas gifts were handed out.
On June 14, 1931, District 1 patrol officers moved to 1024 York Street and the motorcycle officers remained in the 9th Street building which was re-designated “Station X.” In addition to traffic, Station X personnel were also a quick reaction force to anywhere in the City. Right after Christmas 1932 a mental patient was acting out at General Hospital and barricaded himself with a hostage. Twelve men responded from Station X and Motor Patrolman Beitman fired a tear gas round into the room ending the standoff.
During 1935, Motor Patrolman Beitman and his wife moved into a home at 565 Dixmyth Avenue.
At 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24, 1935, Motor Patrolmen Beitmen and Clifford Rhein finished their shift and were on their way home. Patrolman Beitman, operating a Harley Davidson motorcycle and sidecar Number A302 west on Schiller Street, was struck at the northwest corner of Schiller and Hughes Streets by a Nash sedan owned by the Gem Hat Shop (325 E. Central Parkway) and driven by Rudolph Gross (219 Liberty Street). Gross was driving north on Hughes when he struck the motorcycle on the left rear wheel hurling it onto the sidewalk resulting in Patrolman Beitman suffering a fractured skull.
Patrolman Beitman was transported unconscious to General Hospital in Car 700. Dr. Marvin Menard, the Police Surgeon, was the attending physician.
Two days after the accident, on September 26th, there was little hope for Patrolman Beitman recovering. On the 27th, his condition was reported as critical. He died on October 1, 1935 and his remains were taken to W. Mack Johnson’s funeral home at McMillan and Upland Streets.
Patrolman Beitman was survived by his wife, Henrietta W. (Weisenhahn) Beitman. His funeral was held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 3, 1935 at the funeral home by Rev. E. A. Katterhenry, pastor of the Salem Evangelical and Reformed Church. The pallbearers were Edward von Dohre and Patrolmen Marcellus Abel, Clifford Rhein, Harold Manegold, William Lienhardt, and Harry Holtman. The Police Memorial Quartet sang at the service and the Police Drum Corps sounded Taps at the grave. He was buried at 3 p.m. in Spring Grove Cemetery. Henrietta died on January 6, 1978 and joined him.
Patrolman Rhein, who had been riding a short distance ahead of Patrolman Beitman, reported that when he heard the crash, he noted that the striking vehicle was on the wrong side of the street. Patrolman Rhein arrested Gross and charged him with Reckless Driving. He was arraigned in Police Court the following day, September 25th, and held under $1000 bond and scheduled for a hearing on October 1st.
Once the accident was classified as a fatality, Detective Sergeant George Ebbers and Detectives Andrew Beard and Fred Seebohm (later killed in his own traffic accident) arrested Gross again on the more serious manslaughter charge and Motor Patrolman Rhein signed the warrant.
On October 1st, the day Patrolman Beitman died, Municipal Judge Otis R. Hess continued Gross’ trial until October 8 and allowed him to go free on bond. When the case came to trial, Judge Hess referred it to the Grand Jury. On February 14, 1936, the case was ignored by the Grand Jury.
Since Greater Cincinnati area law enforcement had begun using motorcycles in the 1920s, eleven officers died on the job. These victims were: Motor Constable Emery Farmer, Fairfield Township, 1922; Motorcycle Patrolman David Rogers, Covington, 1923; Deputy Marshal Arthur Seaman, North College Hill, 1923; Motorcycle Patrolman J. Roy Hicks, Cincinnati, 1935; Motorcycle Patrolman Howard Beitman, Cincinnati, 1935; Motor Patrolman Harry Rose, Covington, 1938; Motorcycle Patrolman Robert Leigh, Cincinnati, 1940; Motorcycle Patrolman John Neal, Cincinnati, 1944; Motorcycle Patrolman Willard Santel, Reading, 1945; Motorcycle Patrolman John Hughes, Cincinnati; 1948; and Motorcycle Patrolman Lewis Hall, Cincinnati, 1948.
If you know of any 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 further researched and revised on October 7, 2017 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Executive Director. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.