Thursday, May 16, 2002

Ultimate good cop

Bronze hand reaches out from the past

        In uniform, he stood tall walking his beat, swinging his nightstick and practicing the Golden Rule.

        In bronze, he stands even taller. Eight feet in height, from his shoe soles to the crown of his policeman's hat, the sculpted image of Frank Feldhaus represents the ultimate good cop.

        He serves. He protects. He's tough. He's fair.

        Even a good cop occasionally needs some backup. That's how Kevin Feldhaus wound up spending an April afternoon holding onto the statue's right hand.

        That's why he intends to stand by the bronze image on Friday. He wants to be there when the Annual Police Memorial Parade comes to an end at the base of the statue across from Cincinnati Police headquarters.

        Kevin's doing this for love. For family. Frank Feldhaus was his grandfather.

        To people along his Clifton beat and cops on the street, Frank Feldhaus was “Pappy.” The nickname came during his 41 years of service — 28 spent making the same rounds. And his personable, dedicated style. He knew the names of almost everyone, good or bad, on his beat. He never took a sick day until a heart attack forced him to retire in 1977. He died in 1980, at age 72.

        His image was cast in bronze and unveiled in 1990. In typical Cincinnati fashion, no one from the family, Kevin told me, was invited to the statue's dedication.

        “We didn't know it was my grandfather up there until a few years ago,” he said.

        He wasn't complaining. He's too proud.

        It pleases him when references to the statue's namesake use the nickname Pappy. But to Kevin, he was just Grandpa.

        On that recent day in April, Grandpa was under attack. Protesters threatened to douse the statue with blood.

        That wasn't going to happen on Kevin's watch. He and his older brother, Frank III, took the day off from their respective jobs to guard the statue.

        They saw it as protecting the family name. And everything their grandfather stood for.

        “Think of the thousands of policemen throughout Cincinnati's life and the officers who died in the line of duty,” Kevin said.

        “Out of all those people, my grandfather left such an impression that people can go to that statue and see his name, my family's name, on the tag above the right pocket of his jacket.”

        At the statue, protesters tried to provoke the brothers by calling them names. One that sticks in Kevin's mind, but not in his craw is: “White monkey homosexual faggot who cares for the Jews but goes to a Catholic church.”

        Circling like blood-thirsty sharks, the protesters kept taunting as Kevin and Frank quietly manned the base of the statue.

        Kevin soon found himself holding the statue's right hand.

        “I didn't know I was doing it until someone pointed it out,” he said. “It just felt comfortable.”

        Frank Feldhaus Jr. — Pappy's son and father to Kevin and Frank III — also feels a certain comfort when he sees the statue.

        “It's like he's looking right at me,” Frank said.

        “Makes me remember how he devoted his life to his job.

        “I also think back to my being on the force for seven years and that he told me how to be a good policeman: Treat people as you would want to be treated, always be fair and listen.

        “I think of how he represents the tremendously good people — white and black — who gave their lives to improve Cincinnati.”

        Seeing his father's face in bronze “raises the hair on the back of my neck,” he added.

        “It feels like he touched you on the shoulder.”

        Or just took your hand.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; e-mail


Killings up 87% over last year
28 slain in Cincinnati neighborhoods
Milestone reached in Fernald cleanup
Monroe mall plan cut from mega to just big
Charter school to open downtown
Commissioners pave way for Sabin expansion process
Curbing take-home cars saves the city $204,000
Norwood to unveil schools' revamping
Obituary: Dr. Mikio Suo, GE Engines engineer
Presbytery addresses gay issue
Ride your bike to bus stop, take a bus to work
Robbers strip man's clothes
Search goes on for two boaters
Teachers begin voting on merit plan
HOWARD: Some Good News
PULFER: A child's tale
- RADEL: Ultimate good cop
Conese guilty of soliciting
Diplomas honor service to country
Fairfield mayor admits open meeting violation
Milford to get places to sip, sup
Relay for Life gets bigger every year
Teens find contest fun, but grueling
Troupe provides inspiration
Brownfield cleanup eases liability rule
Business group in Toledo wants new arena downtown
Cigarette tax hike falters in Capitol
Essay contest promotes Ohio learning program
Mental-retardation director urges training
Ohio high court strikes down same-sex solicitation law
Prison riot leader's sentence of death upheld by high court
Selling dorms proposed
Victim rights endorsed
Flasher gets time in jail
Foal losses decrease from 2001
Human cloning predicted this year
Kentucky News Briefs
Lights to be installed on Pendery Park playing fields
Patton's daughter to leave leadership of state Democrats
Principal openings abundant
Six more sue Louisville church
Study: Minority youths charged, detained more