Chief Shiflet retires
- Written by Patsy Oliver
Harris County Precinct 4 Assistant Deputy Chief Larry Shiflet has turned in his badge and gun in exchange for golf clubs and a camera. Shiflet officially retired Wednesday after 26 years of service with the Precinct. Known simply as “Chief” by those in his department and many friends, Shiflet has dedicated nearly half a century to law enforcement, beginning with military police service in Alaska while serving in the U.S. Air Force, after enlisting at age 17. After his military service, Shiflet spent 20 years securing the safety of Southern Pacific rail lines. He retired from Southern Pacific and carried his law enforcement background to a new level of service in the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. Deputy constables, peers, friends, family and dignitaries crowded the Precinct 4 office on Will Clayton Parkway Wednesday to bid Shiflet farewell in an often emotional tribute to his service. Proclamations were awarded to the lawman naming April 30, 2008 “Larry Shiflet Day” by Humble Mayor Donnie McMannes, as well as Houston City Councilman Mike Sullivan on behalf of Mayor Bill White. Kim Brode of Congressman Ted Poe’s office presented Shiflet a certificate on behalf of the Congressman recognizing his “46 years as a Texas lawman.” Touching and humorous remarks were made by Humble ISD board member Dan Huberty and Humble Area Chamber of Commerce President Mike Byers. Byers said that he had worked with Shiflet since 1992 and that Shiflet “became a man I truly respected.” He joked that one particularly bad golf game for Shiflet resulted in his declaration that he would never play the game again. Byers said that Shiflet announced that he would sell his bag, clubs, balls, tees and all for $150 to whoever wanted them. Humble Police Chief Gary Warman was also playing that day and took Shiflet up on the offer. Byers said that a short time later they were asked to play in a tournament and Shiflet said that he could not play because he had no clubs. Warman subsequently sold the equipment back to Shiflet for $151, recounted Byers with a grin. Huberty followed by saying that Shiflet was a true gentleman. “That truly is what Larry is to us and to the community,” said Huberty. Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Eversole presented Shiflet with a proclamation from the county. Eversole said Shiflet has integrity and has been a tremendous community supporter. “He’s been a true Texan ... an American and, most of all, he’s my friend,” said Eversole. To add to the presentations, state Rep. Joe Crabb honored Shiflet with a flag that had been flown over the state capital. Crabb joked that the flags given out by the state are made by prisoners, and that this one was made by an inmate who knew Shiflet. This drew humorous rumblings from the packed room requesting that Shiflet not unfold the stars and stripes until after the room had been cleared. Harris County Constable Ron Hickman presented Shiflet with a plaque and became very emotional when he spoke about his longtime friend. “I’ve spent about half of my adult life with this man,” said Hickman as his voice broke with emotion. “You can’t say how much you appreciate a guy who’s been there in the low times and the high times.” Shiflet embraced Hickman as he became too emotional to speak. Hickman said that he expects the two will have many more opportunities to bond and enjoy each other’s company. Lieutenants David Escobar and Wally Weighat joined Shiflet to give him a plaque from his officers, but the two became so emotional that they were almost unable to speak. “He’s picked us up when we were down and helped us through some very tough times ... and we will never forget him,” said Escobar. Soon-to-retire school board member Lynn Fields and Sullivan’s District E Manager Judy Luquette organized the retirement celebration and presented the Chief with a “little black book” containing numerous letters written to him by women throughout the community. The pair teased that it was from “all the girls he’d loved before,” but added that they had first cleared it with his wife, Tribune editor Cynthia Calvert, who was at his side. Shiflet thanked all those in attendance and called for his sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter to join him. He said that he had seen a dramatic improvement in the way the department has been run since he first took office and attributed the crime rate’s not being much greater to his department’s collaboration with Warman’s. “It’s been a great time ... and one of the best is when they thought they were punishing me and they sent me to Kingwood, Texas,” said Shiflet. “I love this community and I’ll be seeing y’all around.” Among the many gifts with a humorous twist Shiflet received were mini Lincoln Logs, a pocket game “to play while waiting at the doctor’s office,” and a dozen doughnuts. Shiflet co-owns The Tribune newspapers with Calvert and will join her at the helm of the publication. He has already been unofficially tagged “second string photographer” and numerous other duties are expected to follow – with the understanding that his golf game take first priority, as weather permits.