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Former East Spencer mayor, police chief John L. Rustin Sr. dies at 91

Retired Police Chief

John L. Rustin Sr.

John L. Rustin Sr.

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

EAST SPENCER — John L. Rustin, a former East Spencer mayor and the town’s retired police chief,. died this weekend at the age of 91.

Rustin, an East Spencer native, began his law enforcement career in East Spencer as a part-time officer in 1952 during the time of segregation and eventually became police chief in 1974. While working for the police department part-time, Rustin also worked for Isenhour Brick and Tile in East Spencer, now Boral Brick.

He was a World War II veteran and served on several boards throughout the years including the Rowan Chamber of Commerce, the Civitan Club and Peace Officers Association. He was a life member of the local NAACP and N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police.

Rustin was a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award. A street, located beside the East Spencer Post Office,was named in his honor. In February 2011, Rustin received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

After his mother died when he was a child, an aunt moved Rustin to Washington, D.C., where he completed his education. It was in Washington in 1935 that his interest in law enforcement was spawned when he was inspired by a resource officer.

See more in Tuesday’s Post.

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