Howard Makin joined the Delhi Police Department in 1961 and became its chief just two years later. He had been a military policeman in the US Army during the Korean War and wanted to continue his career in law enforcement. In fact, even before entering the Army, Howard wanted to be a cop. After completing his military service, Makin read a newspaper article about Delhi Township starting its own department. He applied for a position and was one of three part-time officers hired.
By the time Makin was named chief Delhi had one part-time and three full time officers. In 1969, Delhi’s Police Department had seven full-time police officers.
In September of that year, three men robbed the Cabinet Supreme Savings & Loan on Delhi Pike. Four women were shot to death in the vault of the little bank. Makin realized his young, small police department wasn’t experienced enough to handle a crime of such magnitude. He called in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Cincinnati Police Department to assist. Together, these agencies and eventually others, pieced together information the Delhi Police Department had been assembling for weeks before the crime, to identify the suspects and issue warrants for their arrest. Raymond Kassow was arrested within hours of the crime. The names of the other two, John Leigh and Watterson Johnson, were entered into the new Regional Crime Information Computer, a Hamilton County database, which was connected to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Leigh and Johnson were arrested in Arizona less than a week later.
The three concurrent trials were dubbed a "Three Ring Circus," by one of the defense attorneys. Nonetheless, the killers were convicted and sentenced to death. Their sentences were commuted to life in prison a few years later when the Supreme Court ruled capital punishment to be “cruel and unusual” punishment.
Makin’s use of multiple agencies was not new in Hamilton County. However, it was one of the largest and set the tone for interdepartmental cooperation which has become a hallmark of policing in southwest Ohio. Later in his career, Makin became the head of CLEAR, or County Law Enforcement Applied Regionally. In 1994, he was recognized by the State of Ohio for his leadership in CLEAR, which was responsible for the first regional automated fingerprint system in Ohio, and implementing the Mobile Data Terminal system in Hamilton County.
Howard Makin retired in May 1996. His work and leadership in multi-jurisdictional law enforcement cooperation led to his being fondly referred to as The Godfather by local cops. At his retirement party Makin was recognized by police agencies from across the region. Federal agencies such as the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Secret Service honored Makin with presentations at his farewell party. Makin retired to a peaceful life on a farm in Indiana. In retirement, Makin was a key member of the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society. His leadership helped to create the Society’s museum.
During his retirement, Howard worked with journalist Kate March to the tell true crime story of the robbery and murders in Delhi Township in 1969. The result was No Witnesses-The Story of Robbery and Murder at the Cabinet Supreme Savings and Loan.
Howard R. Makin passed away May 3, 2008, months before the publication of No Witnesses.
Howard Makin's tag cloud