Specialist David H. Massel | Woodlawn Police Department

Police Specialist David Massel
Police Specialist David Massel

Age: 37
Served: 7 years
1978 to February 9, 1985


David was born May 1, 1947, the only child born to Henry and Rebecca (Dunn) Massel. He was was a ‘Big Brother’, gourmet cook, trainer, and educator with a Master’s Degree and was working on his doctorate in Criminal Justice. During 1978 also became a Woodlawn Police Officer and later promoted to Specialist.

Though scheduled to be off duty on February 8, 1985, Specialist Massel agreed to cover for another Woodlawn officer that needed to be off.

Specialist Massel was driving his marked police vehicle 25 miles per hour north on Springfield Pike. A car was driven out of a bar (now Pike’s Bar and Grill) at 10010 Springfield Pike, turned south, accelerated, and crossed the centerline striking Specialist Massel’s police cruiser head on. In the crash, Specialist Massel suffered fractured skull, sternum, ribs, and left femur and subscalpular hemorrhages.

Woodlawn paramedics tried to resuscitate him and rushed him to University Hospital in Cincinnati where he was pronounced dead at 1:18 a.m. by Dr. Steven Bernardon.

The drunken driver of the striking vehicle was also killed.

Specialist Massel was survived by and the only child of his mother, Rebecca Massel. He was buried on February 11, 1985, in the Covedale Cemetery in Cincinnati. Memorials have been placed throughout Woodlawn by fellow officers, B’nai B’rith, and the community and a scholarship was established in his name in 1987 at University of Cincinnati.

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


This narrative was researched and revised on November 30, 2011, by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.