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Friend remembers late Cincinnati police officer Paul Vogelpohl as ‘indescribable'

Posted at 8:43 PM, Aug 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-05 20:43:08-04

CINCINNATI -- Sgt. Paul Vogelpohl was “indescribable,” his longtime friend says.

Vogelpohl, a retired Cincinnati police officer and a nearly-30-year veteran of the force, died Friday after fighting pancreatic cancer. He was 71. 

Retired police lieutenant Stephen Kramer says he has fond memories of working with Vogelpohl. They first met in 1972; Vogelpohl was a sergeant, and Kramer was a cadet.

“For about six years ... we led every relief in the city in production and getting good arrests done. Every single night it was laughter at roll call,” Kramer said.

Vogelpohl worked his way up the ranks. He joined the Cincinnati Police Department as a cadet in 1966. He was a patrolman and a police specialist before he was promoted to sergeant.

He was a leader everyone looked up to, Kramer said.“If he was working, he’s the one you went to for whatever it was, because you knew you were going to get his best,” Kramer said.

It was partially because of his leadership that Vogelpohl was awarded a Living Legend coin. Kramer recalls Vogelpohl receiving the honor at a party before Christmastime at 1132 bar in Over-the-Rhine.

“He had only been on since ‘66, but in ‘72 when I came on he was already a legend,” he said. “He was a total package. He was a good cop, and a legend before he became a supervisor. He was indescribable, to be honest with you.”

He retired in 1994 after 28 years of service. Vogelpohl made headlines this past March when he gave away his Living Legends coin.

Officer Kenneth Grubbs was shot while responding to a domestic violence call in Walnut Hills. While he was recovering at the hospital, Vogelpohl, who was staying in the room next door, gifted the police officer his coin.

"He goes, 'I want to give Ken my Living Legends coin. He deserves it more than I do,'" Eric Vogelpohl recalled his father saying.

MORE: In hospital, retired cop honors officer recovering from shooting

Kramer said Vogelpohl was upset that the story made it on the news.

“He quietly went over, and somebody else in the room said, ‘Vogelpohl just gave away his Living Legend.’ And that’s how it hit the news,” Kramer said. “He was very upset that it hit the news. He just wanted to do it because Grubbs deserved it. That’s just how he thought.”

Not many know about the good deeds Vogelpohl has done, Kramer said, because he always tried to make sure nobody knew.

“If you were moving, he’d help you move. If you were having a bad time, he’d talk with you, speak with you,” Kramer said.

“One time when I had prostate cancer, he was the first one to call me up. He said, ‘Hey, you have your pants on? I’m going to take you out to lunch’ … (he was) just a good guy. You can’t explain it. You can see the results of it. He’s got hundreds of friends,” Kramer said.

Kramer is just honored to have been one of them.

“I’m going to miss him. I don’t know what else to say,” he said.

Vogelpohl’s visitation will be held 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. His funeral service is 11 a.m. Thursday  at St. Ignatius Church in Monfort Heights.