Sunday, February 23, 2003


William J. Torbert was police officer

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

When he served the police departments of the villages of Lockland and Lincoln Heights, William "Bill" James Torbert was not a typical police officer.

Ken Johnson, Lockland police chief, said Mr. Torbert was a dedicated officer.

"He took things personally and made an effort to solve a case. He was never really concerned about the money," said Johnson. "He did a lot of good in the community and the police department."

Mr. Torbert died Tuesday at Mercy Franciscan Hospital in Mount Airy. The Mount Healthy resident was 57.

Chief Johnson said Mr. Torbert was a teacher to the new and younger police officers. He also tried to help out the people he arrested.

"He had a philosophy - if we were on a domestic or robbery call, he always said `Do the Right Thing'" to the people involved, said Chief Johnson. "When people got out of jail, they'd thank him" because he tried to help them with the court proceedings.

Mr. Torbert was born in Birmingham, Ala., to William James and Willie Ruth Torbert.

He served as an Army medical technologist in the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged in 1968.

In 1975, Mr. Torbert worked as a beat cop in Lincoln Heights and in 1982, joined the Village of Lockland's police department where he worked for 18 years. He retired in 2000 as a lieutenant. Chief Johnson said Mr. Torbert donated a lot of time helping at schools, providing security at proms and providing moral support at basketball games and wrestling events.

"If they lost, he told them it was OK," said Chief Johnson. "He cared a lot about the kids. He and his wife had foster kids living with them."

Longtime friend, Ernie McCowen, Lincoln Heights police chief and former fire chief, said he worked with Mr. Torbert for 10 years.

"He was a mentor to kids in both Lincoln Heights and Lockland," said Chief McCowen. "He helped us form one of the first Explorer posts in Lincoln Heights."

Mr. Torbert married Vinnie Belinda Wilson in 1994.

He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Pride of the Valley Masonic Lodge No. 95 in Lockland. He and his wife operated a real estate business, MarDaph Properties, LLC.

He was preceded in death by his father; a brother, Bruce Leon; and a sister, Stephanie Odette.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his mother, Willie Ruth of Roselawn; three daughters, Daphne Renee Torbert, Rashida Washington and Marshelle Wilson, all of Cincinnati; two brothers, Richard and Rod of Cincinnati; a sister, Yvonne Bronaugh of Cincinnati; and five grandchildren.

Visitation will take place 10 a.m.-noon Monday , followed by funeral services at noon at Thompson, Hall and Jordan Funeral Home in Forest Park. There will be a policeman's vigil and honor detail throughout the visitation.

Pride of the Valley No. 95 will conduct a Masonic service at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home.

A full police escort will accompany the funeral procession to Dayton, Ohio, where Mr. Torbert will be interred at the National Cemetery.


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