The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
“Preserving the History of Law Enforcement in the Greater Cincinnati Area”
Police Officer Thomas James McAlpin III – P674
Tom was born March 18, 1948 in Cincinnati to Thomas J. and Ruth Lillian (Roettele) McAlpin, Jr. He attended Taylor High School and graduated in 1966. He also attended the University of Cincinnati in 1966.
After graduation from high school, and for three years, worked for A & S Construction Company as an equipment operator.
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 from rooftops with binocular; an innovation that was written up in many national newspapers. 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 was one of a few officers who took blind children on a “braille tour” of foliage. During May 1979, he was one of a few officers chosen to test 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 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 being turned 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’s assignment changed 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, 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. Since then, 136 have been recognized by street cops. Officer McAlpin was himself inducted in 1995.
During the latter part of his career, Almost every one of his performance evaluations from 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. Most officers are happy to get a dozen letters of appreciation and/or commendation in their career. Officer McAlpin’s 110 letters took a dozen pages to list. Seven years after his retirement, he was awarded by the Ohio Crime Prevention Association the Michael Blankenship Award in 2002.
He also went to work for Allgeier and Son Construction, ending his work life as he began it when he was 18 years old. After a total of 50 years and failing knees, he finally retired about 2017.
He visited the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum often, bringing artifacts and archives to donate and a smile to share.
On Thursday, June 20, 2019, at 9:45 p.m., police responded to Officer McAlpin’s home and found him trapped and deceased beneath an overturned zero-turn riding lawn mower that had rolled over on him while he was mowing. He was 71.
He was predeceased by his former wife, Vera (Andriot) McAlpin. Officer McAlpin is survived by his children, Heather (Nen) Berkemeier, Thomas J. (Elizabeth) McAlpin IV, and Holli (John Gibbs) McAlpin; grandchildren, Jacob Berkemeier, Lucy Berkemeier, Gracie McAlpin, Faith McAlpin, and Monroe Beck; fiancé, Dr. Kathy Bare; and sister, Patricia (former Police Officer Donald “Jock”) Campbell.
Visitation will be held 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday, June 24, 2019 at the Dennis George Funeral Home at 44 S. Miami Avenue in Cleves. A FOP service will be held at 6 p.m. At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, a procession will depart for a 10 a.m. memorial service at the Norman Chapel at 4521 Spring Grove Avenue. Interment will follow in the Spring Grove Cemetery.
© 2019 – All rights reserved to LT Stephen R. Kramer RET and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum