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Thomas James McAlpin III - Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Thomas James McAlpin III - Greater Cincinnati Police Museum

Thomas James McAlpin III

Thomas James McAlpin III


  • Cincinnati Police Officer Badge 674
  • Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Volunteer


Tom was born March 18, 1948, in Cincinnati. On May 4, 1969, Tom joined the Cincinnati Police Division as a Police Recruit. He was promoted to Patrolman on August 17, 1969, issued Badge 674, and assigned to District 1 (310 Lincoln Park Drive), where he became a legend. During 1972 he began patrolling his beat on foot and from rooftops with binocular; an innovation that national newspapers wrote about. On December 1, 1974, he was elected to one of eight seats on the Board of Directors of the Findlay Market Association which he held for years. In 1978 he and a couple other officers took blind children on a “braille tour” of foliage. During May 1979, he was one of a few officers chosen to evaluate shotguns in the cabs of patrol vehicles.

Officer McAlpin transferred to District 3 (3201 Warsaw Avenue) on November 4, 1979. On September 7, 1986, he transferred to the Crime Prevent Unit. During 1987 he began a program of taking at-risk children fishing. During 1990, he conducted crime classes to hundreds of high school students. Also, during 1990, he personally, partially sponsored a police cruiser conversion into a dragster to promote DARE. In May 1991, Officer McAlpin was elected Vice President of the Ohio Crime Prevention Association and President of the Hamilton County Crime Prevention Association. During a reorganization in 1992, Officer McAlpin was assigned to the Public Information Office as Community Liaison. He also served as the President of the Ohio Crime Prevention Association, Regional Director of the American Crime Prevention Association, and Coordinator for the Associate Police Captains organization. In 1993 he was honored as “Crime Prevention Practitioner of the Year.”  On April 4, 1993, he transferred to the Criminal Investigation Section (824 Broadway) as the Division’s Burglary Coordinator.

During 1988, Officer McAlpin and his partner, Officer Howard Nichols, decided to honor three police legends at a Christmas Party at the 1132 Bar in Over the Rhine. Met with overwhelming response, they and Officers Gary Seal and Wes Sullivan determined to honor other District 1 legends annually. In the next 20 years, more than 130 were so honored, including Officer McAlpin himself in 1995. The bar closed, but the 1132 Legends lives on.

During the latter part of his career, almost every performance evaluation from his commanders included the word “innovation” when describing his production. In addition to all the rest, he served on seventeen presidential and vice-presidential details and met five United States Presidents.

Officer McAlpin retired on July 4, 1995, with 26¼ years of service to his community and nearly a record 110 letters of appreciation and/or commendation. Seven years after his retirement, the Ohio Crime Prevention Association honored him with their Michael Blankenship Award in 2002.

Since before 2002, he was a scrounger for the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum, looking for and often finding fixtures and furniture. Occasionally, he would come across artifacts and archives, purchase them, and then donate them. He continued to do so up to his tragic death on June 20, 2019.