Frank Ottersbach #835, retired Seattle Police Lieutenant passed away on May 30, 2014. He was 88 years of age upon passing.
Frank’s parents were immigrants from Germany. They moved to South Seattle where Frank was born in the family home which still stands at the intersection of Genesee and Cecelia. He attended Columbia and then Hawthorne grammar schools before enrolling at Franklin High. During his school years he was very active in Boy Scouts. While a junior in high school, he had to help with the family business, so he got a job with the Ben Paris Restaurant and Card Room at Pike and Westlake. He graduated from Franklin in 1943 and immediately enlisted in the Navy. He was a Gunner Mate on board the USS Brevard – a cargo ship. The ship served in the Philippines and the South China Theaters. Shortly after the surrender in the Pacific, Frank was still aboard the USS Brevard when it helped in the rescue at sea of 4,296 repatriated Japanese whose ship struck a floating mine off the Yangtze River in January 1946.
Frank returned to Seattle in late 1946 and got his old job back at Ben Paris. But the job was boring compared to what he experienced in the war. So within weeks, he applied to the Seattle Police Department. He was hired as a Patrolman on April 21, 1947, making $210 ($1.20 an hour) per month.
The next twenty years he worked mostly Patrol West Central in the Skid Road area which was concentrated with bars, arcades, card rooms and adult entertainment clubs. In March 3, 1967, he transferred to the Detectives in preparation to be promoted to sergeant the next year. One year later, he was promoted and reassigned to Patrol for thirteen months. Then back to his old Burglary Squad as the sergeant. One day, young 3rd Watch Officer Fred Hill’s wife got a phone call at home from Sergeant Frank Ottersbach. Christine woke Fred up to talk to this sergeant. Fred told his wife, “I must be in trouble.” When he got to the phone, Frank apologized for waking him up, and then commended him for his excellent report regarding a complex case. That’s the kind of leader Frank was.
In 1977 Frank was promoted to Lieutenant. He was assigned to IIS. When another young officer repeatedly delayed responding to (in his opinion) an unjustified chippie beef, Frank called the officer and asked why he had not responded to the repeated requests to be interviewed. The officer replied that the beef was a humbug and he did not want to give a taped statement in place of the traditional written statement. Frank countered, “You’re correct, the complaint does look suspicious. So come in now and look at it, and then we’ll talk about your statement.” Well the complaint was simple and obviously phony, so the officer said, “No problem, I’ll give a taped statement.” Frank replied, “No! Dan, you’ll write a complete detailed statement before you leave here.” It took four hours and five re-writes before Frank was satisfied with the statement’s quality, which incidentally coincided with his quitting time. Boy was I glad he had to get home and could not stay any longer. I learned my lesson!
After IIS, he was a Watch Commander at all four precincts. During his stand-up roll calls, he would check out the officers’ grooming standards. If their hair was a little long, Frank would threaten to escort them to his barber for the cue ball tonsure cut. Frank retired on March 30, 1990 with 43 years of service.
Frank was an outdoorsman. During his working and retirement years he was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was famous for taking halfers to go fishing or duck hunting.
He is survived by his wife Peggy; his daughter Jill; son-in-law Phil; and two grandchildren, Paul and Arlanda.