Former YPD officer with colorful career dies

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


A retired Youngstown police officer with all the bumps and bruises associated with a lengthy career of fighting crime has died.

David Bole, 87, joined the Youngstown Police Department as a patrolman in 1951. He retired in 1985 after 34 years of service, but a lot went into his service before his retirement.

Vindicator files show that Bole in 1966, after being with the police department for 15 years, became involved in a struggle with a 21-year-old man while on patrol. The man grabbed the officer’s gun, and a shot rang out, hitting the 21-year-old in the chest. He died of his wounds.

Also in 1966, Bole was shot during an exchange of gunfire between a 66-year-old man and several police officers on the city’s North Side, according to Vindicator files.

Police responded to an address on Covington Street early one morning after a man and woman living at the house said someone fired shots into their home. The first officer at the scene went into the house and was forced to take cover as bullets again were fired into the house.

Bole and several other officers arrived shortly after the initial shots and identified the shooter, who by this time had stepped out of a rear door of a neighboring house. The shooter exchanged gunfire with officers.

Bole was shot in the foot. The suspect was shot and killed by police.

Bole in 1973 was also hospitalized after he was pistol-whipped by a man he was attempting to arrest in a wooded area near McGuffey Road. The man wrestled Bole’s gun from its holster while being handcuffed and hit the officer in the head with the weapon before running off.

Bole was hospitalized with a large gash to his head, but the assailant was caught and charged with assaulting the officer.

Youngstown police Capt. David McKnight said with all the colorful turns to Bole’s career as a Youngstown police officer, he will likely best be remembered for the big heart he displayed while working at a former police substation in the McGuffey Mall.

“He would be there and give out half dollars every year at Christmas time. He kept a stack on his desk, and would give them to any kid who came into the substation,” said McKnight.

“Everyone really loved him over on the East Side.”

McKnight said Bole also had a way with people, even those who operate on the wrong side of the law.

“He was like an expert in stolen cars. He could go up to families of suspected thieves, and they would actually tell him where things were, and he would get these things back,” he said. “He was really a special guy.”

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