Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Badge 174 takes place on wall of fame

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A former Cincinnati police officer who spent a virtually unheard-of 44 years with the force will be honored Thursday by colleagues who say nobody did the job with more tenacity.

        John Zompero spent more than half of his police tenure working in what is now called criminalistics — the people who pick apart crime scenes for evidence and match fingerprints looking for culprits. It's the kind of work a lot of cops don't have the patience to do, said Detective Dick Gross, one of the officers organizing the memorial.

        “He was just one of those guys who would work and work at something until he got it,” he said.

        Mr. Zompero was 65 when he died New Year's Eve after a two-year battle with cancer. Shortly before his death, he retired from the division for the second time after exhausting both his sick time and some sick time donated to him by friends, said his son John, a Cincinnati district fire chief.

        He joined the police division in April 1956 and worked for more than 30 years. He retired — “for about two weeks,” his son said — then returned to the force as a civilian, working again in criminalistics.

        A plaque with Mr. Zompero's picture and his badge No. 174 will hang on the wall in the roll-call room at the division's criminal investigations section.


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