Retirement Ends 32-Year Career (December 1959)
Eden Constable Recalls Old Days
|A law-enforcement officer who
has seen his town grow up from a rural countryside to an expanding suburban community
was honored last week by Eden town fathers. Cleveland E. Shook of North Main St., Eden was
feted by members of the town board at a dinner at Wittmeyer's Hotel, East Eden.|
The occassion marks the last week of Shook's police career spanning two decades in Eden. He will retire December 31, 1959 as Chief of the Constabulary, the 12-man volunteer unit which fills the need for law enforcement in this busy south suburb.
Elected in 1927, Chief Shook was among the last of the old-time constables who were elected by popular vote. He was elected in 1927 and served as a constable while farming on Jerusalem Road. For three years prior to becoming the first full-time paid officer in the town's history he was a member of the Erie County Sheriff's Department.
The Gowanda State Road and the Sisson Highway, which serve as arteries from the southern tier townships and Cattaraugus County to metropolitan Buffalo, are among the most heavily traveled in the county. While the Sheriff's department attends to these, another network of secondary highways and improved farm roads honeycombs the town. Patroling these has been the job of Chief Shook in the town's sole police car.
Constabulary formed: By 1955 Eden's pre-war population had doubled, and what had once been strickly a farming community with a quiet little hamlet holding onto tradition soon began to blossom forth as an attractive suburban locality. The long-sought Eden Valley bridge speeded communications and travel to the neighboring townships.
In June of that year the town board approved the formation of a volunteer citizen's force to be known as a constabulary. Chief Shook was named as head of the unit, authorized under Town Law as peace officers who can enforce general laws of the state, both civil and criminal.
In a report made last April, Chief Shook recapped the past 3 1/2 years of the constabulary's work.
It revealed that an estimated $11,510.00 had been saved for Eden taxpayers in total wages for the volunteer unit, which had given some 8,000 hours of their time to this same period.
Based upon twenty miles per hour, an estimated 115,000 miles were patroled by the constabulary in this peiod. A total of 395 arrests were made to the end of 1958, including eleven criminal arrests last year. The hours and arrests of Chief Shook, however, were in addition to those detailed in the report.
For Eden's first cop, the days of enforcement are at an end.