Sunday, December 7, 1997
Two officers regarded highly

BY TANYA BRICKING,
LISA DONOVAN
and JOHN ECKBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ronald D. Jeter and Daniel J. Pope forever will be linked as the Cincinnati police officers who were shot and killed on a frigid December night in 1997.

To help
Anyone who wishes to help the families of slain Cincinnati Police Officers Daniel J. Pope and Ronald D. Jeter can contribute to the Jacor Police Officer Family Trust Fund. Donations can be made at any Star Bank location.
Spc. Jeter was an outgoing former Marine. Officer Pope was an easygoing outdoorsman who built a log home with his wife, Linda.

Late Friday night, the officers went to a Clifton Heights apartment to serve a felony arrest warrant for domestic violence. Details are unclear, but each man was shot in the back of the head at close range. Officer Pope died immediately; Spc. Jeter died later at University Hospital. As friends, family and colleagues grieved Saturday, they also remembered the fallen officers' lives.

'Loved the job'

jeter
Ronald Jeter
Spc. Jeter was not alone as he lay dying at University Hospital early Saturday morning.

Cincinnati Police Officer Phillip Black held the hand of the 34-year-old officer.

His mother was flown to Cincinnati from her Columbus home to be with her son.

''You want to think that everything that happens in the dark is a dream,'' Officer Black said. ''But it's reality.''

Spc. Jeter was a divorced father of an elementary school-age daughter who lives in Columbus. He served in the Marines for 10 1/2 months after graduating from Columbus' Beechcroft High School in 1982.

When he returned, he attended Columbus State Community College from 1983-88. His goal: to do tough police work.

''He loved the job. He loved it so much he became a SWAT team member,'' Officer Black said. ''With the police division, that's like our special forces. They wear it with pride.''

Spc. Jeter became a police recruit Feb. 7, 1993, was promoted to police officer June 27, 1993, and transfered to District 5 on July 17, 1994. He was promoted to police specialist Jan. 26.

In Spc. Jeter's last police review, on Dec. 31, 1996, Sgt. Richard Lehman wrote: ''Officer Jeter's assignment to SWAT is an example of the quality of professionalism he possesses.

''As his job in CAT (Criminal Apprehension Team) grows, so does his responsibility . . . a pleasure to work with.''

The personnel file includes six commendations, including praise of his quick response and team work.

''He was someone I looked up to,'' Officer Black said. ''I took his advice to heart.''

While Spc. Jeter was known by his fellow officers for his professionalism while on duty, he was known for his sense of humor while off duty.

''It's his smile I keep thinking of,'' Officer Black said. ''If you felt down, Ron came along and you felt good again.''

For the last few years, Spc. Jeter would join police friends on an annual trip to Birmingham, Ala. The last road trip was in October, when they watched the football game between Alabama State and Alabama A&M.

Spc. Jeter was a District 1 recruit under Sgt. Charline Fielden, who is now assigned to District 5.

She remembers his professionalism and his free and easy approach to life.

''He was outgoing and personable,'' Sgt. Fielden said after roll call ended Saturday.

She paused and remembered another detail about the man, an endearing trait she would not soon forget: ''He giggled. He was fun to be around.''

Service arrangements for Spc. Jeter are incomplete.

Family served city

pope
Daniel Pope
Officer Daniel J. Pope was from a law enforcement family, but nothing could have prepared them for what happened early Saturday.

Various family members received the dreaded middle-of-the-night calls summoning them to University Hospital, where they learned that Officer Pope, 35 years old and a 6-year veteran of the department, had been killed while serving an arrest warrant.

''They're dangerous jobs, and we all knew it,'' said John Pfaff, Officer Pope's uncle and a retired Cincinnati assistant fire chief. ''But you feel like you get the training and the know-how and the experience.''

Officer Pope's wife, Linda, is a Cincinnati firefighter and was on duty when he was shot. His father, Robert L. Pope Sr., had been with the Cincinnati Police Division for 35 years before retiring. His brother is Cincinnati Fire Capt. Robert L. Pope Jr.

Neither Linda Pope nor Officer Pope's parents, Robert and Mary Jane, could be reached for comment. Officer Pope is also survived by his sister, Kathleen Kaiser.

Mr. Pfaff, who retired in 1989 after 31 years with the fire department, said the scene at the hospital early Saturday was a familiar one. City officials, police officers and firefighters gathered outside the emergency room to pay their respects to the family members. Mr. Pfaff said that as bad as he felt about his own loss, he felt worse for Officer Pope's wife.

''She probably has the biggest loss here,'' Mr. Pfaff said. ''All you can do is hug her.''

The couple, who shared a love of the outdoors - including skiing and hiking - would have celebrated their seventh anniversary this week.

They had met on a blind date arranged by one of Mrs. Pope's fellow firefighters, said Nadine Weber, who, along with her husband, was a friend of the couple's.

The Popes lived in a log home they had built on 15 acres in Harrison, also home to dozens of injured and stray animals the couple was fond of nursing back to health.

''They were a beautiful couple, very much in love,'' said Police Sgt. Christopher Ruehmer. ''They were inseparable. With the exception of work, they were inseparable.''

Officer Pope, a 1980 graduate of North College Hill High School, held different jobs, including work as a delivery driver and dispatcher for Nightingale Medical before he went into the police academy, from which he graduated in 1991.

That's where he and Sgt. Ruehmer met and became best friends. They were so close that a few years later, they built their homes near one another and frequently shared good and not-so-good outdoor adventures, including a tree-cutting incident in which both men's chainsaws were almost ruined.

''He never got upset about anything though. He was just real level-headed about things,'' Sgt. Ruehmer said.

In Officer Pope's last police review, on Dec. 31, 1996, Sgt. Don Schroder wrote: ''Dan is an aggressive officer who seems to be working well in his new assignment on the District 5 CAT team (Criminal Apprehension Team). Dan works well with others and can be counted on to help others when needed.''

Saturday night, Officer Pope's family and friends were trying to make funeral arrangements and get some rest after a sad and sleepless evening.

Sgt. Ruehmer was doing all of the above as well as trying to make sense of his profound loss.

''It's just devastating,'' he said.

Visitation for Officer Pope will be 1 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Mihovk-Rosenacker Funeral Home, 5527 Cheviot Road, with a Fraternal Order of Police service at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Eighth and Plum streets, downtown Cincinnati.

Memorials can be made to the Shriners Burns Institute, 3229 Burnett Ave., Cincinnati 45229.

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