Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2012
By Shavonne Potts
LANDIS — Someone shot then-Police Chief H.E. “Shorty” Roberts more than 40 years ago, and today the story of that event and the capture of the gunman is on display at the Landis Police Department, along with other memorabilia covering the department’s history.
The department had long wanted to display its history and just recently was able to do that.
Detective Roger Hosey, a self-proclaimed history buff, did some digging, and he and Police Chief Bob Wood have compiled photos, badges, patches and the gun used by the man who captured Shorty Roberts’ assailant.
The display, which sits in a wooden case in the department lobby, has a black-and-white picture of the first chief, John R. Beaver, who served from 1923 to 1938. There are other pictures of former chiefs, including Wood when he was an officer. But Wood and his department would love to have more.
“Anybody who has anything that relates to the past. If it’s past chiefs or past officers, we would like to have it, borrow it or have it on loan,” Wood said.
Much of what the department received about the history of its most well-known chief, Shorty Roberts, came from his wife. She kept a scrapbook and gave it to the department. Hosey obtained some original pictures, scanned them and placed them in a shadow box, also on display.
“Most of it came from family,” Wood said.
The officers understand if people don’t want to part with their items permanently, but if they would loan them to the department for a short time to be displayed, they will place them in the cabinet and return them.
Some of the most prized items the officers would like to obtain are badges from early chiefs or officers, patches and handcuffs. They have a few, but none from early police chiefs including Eric Jones and Beaver, the town’s first chief.
“To get Beaver’s badge, that would be like the Holy Grail,” Hosey said.
The patch Hosey tried to locate was an orange and blue one that he believes is from the 1940s or 1950s. He spoke with a patch collector online who purchased the patch but never received it. Hosey knows what it looks like, and wants it in the collection.
Wood said he has a feeling someone has these items hidden somewhere in an attic or room and doesn’t really know what treasures they possess. He’s hoping they’ll be encouraged to dig around and be willing to donate or loan items to the department.
Some items Hosey found digging around in the police department include an old radar gun, pictures and newspaper clippings of stories written more than 40 years ago. The police station has been in its current location since the 1960s. If there are pictures of the old station, they would like add some of those to the display as well.
The department has grown throughout the years. When Roberts was chief in the ’60s, there were two officers, Roberts and Max Sherrill. When Roberts was recuperating after being shot, there was one.
Reserve Officer Kenny Isenhour bought the gun that was held on the teen who shot Roberts in the 1960s and some time ago donated it to the police department. The gun sits on a shelf in the display case.
For more information or to donate or loan items to the Landis Police, contact the department at 704-857-2129.