Richard W. “Dic” Gross


  • Cincinnati Police Specialist
  • 1st Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President
  • 1st Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Curator

For a full account of the life, career, death and legacy of Specialist Gross, see Specialist Richard W. Gross in our LEGENDS page.


Dic was born August 5, 1947 in Cincinnati. On May 28, 1972, he enlisted in the United States Army Reserves and was assigned to the Signal Corps having been named Honor Graduate at his Advanced Individual Training course. He was honorably discharged from Active Service in December 1972, continued in the Army Reserves, and was eventually promoted to Specialist E-4.

On September 8, 1974 Dic joined the Cincinnati Police Division as a Police Recruit. On February 2, 1975 he was promoted to Police Officer, issued Badge 133, and assigned to District 7 (813 Beecher Street). A year later he rotated to District 1 (310 Lincoln Park Drive). On December 6, 1976 he and 123 other officers were laid off due to financial problems at City Hall.

Officer Gross and several others were recalled to the Division on September 18, 1977 and he was reassigned to District 1. Soon after, he was assigned as an undercover investigator. On December 8, 1985, Officer Gross was promoted to Police Specialist, issued Badge PS-9, and three months later was assigned to the Pawn Squad of the Criminal Investigations Section (824 Broadway). As part of his duties, he searched out stolen articles in pawns shops at a time when most “mom and pop” shops were being gobbled up by regional and national chains.

During 1988, he conjured up the idea of creating a police museum – an idea that had been tried unsuccessfully for over 100 years. He solicited others to join him and in August 1988 they met. Their first decision was to name their organization the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society. Their second was to elect Dic as its Co-Chairman, which quickly evolved into President. He remained its first President for several terms.

During August 2001, Specialist Gross was awarded the Rotary Club’s Career Enhancement Award. By 2002, he was reassigned to the new Major Offenders Unit. He was outwardly and humorously insubordinate, but internally and intensely loyal to his supervisor, commanders, the Department, and the mission. He was singularly responsible for the electronic pawn database used countywide. He was also a member of the Special Investigations Squad, was appointed as a United States Deputy Marshal, and teamed up with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to root out and prosecute Armed Career Felons. Within the first three years, the squad accounted for 135 federal cases with a 100% conviction rate. He was also known by law enforcement in three states as the point man for pawn shops, second-hand shops, and fencing operations. During the next decade, Specialist Gross also worked heavily with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Secret Service.

While off duty, we worked on bringing the Museum to fruition. When the Museum opened, he was its first Curator. By 2010, it was largest police museum, by archive and artifact count, and by 2024, TripAdvisor named it as the No. 1 of 362 things to do in Cincinnati.

Specialist Gross retired on January 21, 2012 with almost 40 years of service to his country and community. During his career, he amassed an astounding 57 letters of appreciation and/or commendation, including more than a dozen from almost every police chief and assistant police chief he worked for, two police chiefs from other cities, and the Attorney General for the State of Maryland.

He continued serving as Curator at the Museum until his death on August 15, 2018.