Center Police Department

Shelby County Texas



E. K. Sowell
R. A. Carriker
Johnny Hughes
C. W. "Chuck" Otterman
Jimmy Matthews
Walter Shofner
Jim Albers


          The city of Center was established because of a law passed by the Texas legislature under the leadership of the carpetbagger governor, Andrew J. Hamilton, requiring that all county seats must be located within two miles of the center of the county. Reliable record of the establishment of “Center” is from the records of the U. S. Post Office in the removal of the mail service from "White Cottage" (near Newburn) to Center on October 11, 1866.
        The city of Center was incorporated in 1893. The Police Department was not organized until April 22, 1913. Prior to organizing a Police Department, the city was patrolled by a Day Marshall and a Night Marshall.
        The following listing of the peace officers for the city of Center is as accurate as we can construct it from the records available.
In 1912, G. A. Houston was City Marshall and his deputies were Claude Clayton and Herman Watts. In 1913, there was Artis Estes and F. E. Hunter. In 1914-1915, we had M. M. Middleton, C. B. Kirkley, G. A. Houston and Wheeler Duke. In 1915-1918 and 1922-1927, we had Zack Booth, City Marshall; 1918, Walter Murray; 1923, G. H. Pearce and two assistants; 1927-1928, Lucky Pleasant, Marshall; 1928, Tol T. Patterson (temporary) Marshall; 1928-1930’s, W. C. Peace, City Marshall, changed to Chief of Police; 1938-1942, J. W. (Will) Arnold; 1942-1943, Eugene (Pete) Haley, Chief of Police; 1943, Charles Perkins, Chief of Police (hired month to month); 1943, J. B. Sample, Chief of Police; 1945, Dave Arnold, Chief of Police; 1945-1946, Bryan McCallum, Chief of Police; 1948-1949, W. H. Ramsey, Chief of Police; 1949-1951, E. K. Sowell, City Marshall and Johnnie Myers, Chief of Police; 1952, Milas Dean; 1952-1953, H. H. Burns; 1952, Norris O’Banion (hired for three weeks).
In 1954, Jack Enmon was the Day Marshall and Bryan McCallum was the Night Marshall when on May 11, 1954, the city of Center voted to revamp the Police Department to bring it up to state standards.
        Mr. M. C. Roebuck, Night-Chief-of-Police, Nacogdoches, Texas, gave an outline of the operations of the Nacogdoches Police Department and made recommendations to the Center City Council to consider adopting for the operation of the Center Police Department. Guests present were: Barnett Sanders, Jack Enmon, Leon Schillings, Charlie B. Christian, Alton Hughes, Duke Taylor, Jr., Harry Burns, Marguerite Watlington and Mrs. Freddie Watlington.
        After the city formulated the present operations procedures in 1955, the following officers have served the city as Chief of Police: From 1955-1956, Grady Jarrett; 1956-1959, Gerald Newbill; 1959-1965, R. A. Carriker; 1965-1967, Joe D. Mitchell, 1967-1974, Johnny Hughes; 1974-1977, Clarence Wayne (Chuck) Otterman.
        Mattie Dellinger told us, “In the 1920’s, Center had a police officer by the name of Dennis Paul who rode a motorcycle. He was known as the Speed Cop.”
        The following is a list of the police officers who have been employed by the city of Center over the years: W. E. Collins, Lawton Campbell, A. E. Hagler, Jack Enmon, Charles Moore, Averey Dalton, Elmer Samford, J. W. Webb, Robert W. Sowell, Everett Harbison, William C. Poole, Allen Penick, J.D.Murphree, Dutch Martin, Butch Dalton, Wayne Bailey, Leon Burgay, James O’Neal Wagstaff, Bob McDonald, Charles R. Johnson, A. M. Scott, Jr., K. P. Williams, Jr., George R. Matthews, Furman Davis, Quinn Munnerlyn, Johnny Martin, Ronnie Porter, Kenneth Byrd, Tommy Alvis, Nat Hughes, O. F. “Butch” Adams, John Langley, Phil Lynch, John Waterhouse, John Bledsoe, Pete Glazer, Leanord Johnson, Doug Milford, Gary Carroll, A. D. Faulk, Newton Johnson, Jr., David Hayes, Terry Denney, Stephen Hennigan, Eldora Gilchrist, T. R. Dugger, Pete Low, Jimmy Williams, Joey Hudnall, Wayne Galloway, Clifford Lightfoot, Bruce Shields, Michael Johnson, Wayne Perry, Phillip Baker, Johnny Hughes, Chuck Otterman, Roger Scott, Benny Barton, Sam Scott, Jimmy Faulkner, Larry Cosby, Jason Smith, Gary Blacksher, Gene Gilcrease, Cody Muse, Hilton Poindexter, Brad McKee, Al Carrello, Lynn Matthews, Lee Martin, Tony Diaz, Al Seinz, Trey Williford, Rick Grissom, Dean Johnson, Charles Hooker, Bill Roberts, David Sparks, James Black, Robert Pipkins, Lester Pitts, Michael Wheatley, Mike Conners, Wendall Chance, Ricky Conners, and Mike Mazarakis, Carl Hathorn.
        In 1961, R. A. Carriker was Chief of Police. There was a young man in Center who went to him and asked to be a policeman. Mr. Carriker told him he did not think he was police material and this young man thanked him for his time. In late 1961 or 1962, this same young man was hired by the Fire Chief of Center as a fireman. By 1969, Johnny Hughes was Chief of Police and he hired this young man as a part time policeman, later that year he was full time. In 1970 to 1971, he went to work for Sheriff Maxie Eaves in the Sheriff Department. In 1972, he went back to work for the City of Center as a full time policeman. By 1974, he was an Assistant Chief under Clarence Otterman. Then in February 1977, he became Chief of Police for the city of Center. This young man is Jimmy Matthews. Jimmy has worked for the city of Center most of his adult life, serving the longest in history as Center Police Chief.
        Under Chief Jimmy Matthew’s command in 2002 are thirteen officers – Ed Roberts, Stan Burgay, Phil Hennigan, Walter Shofner, Odell Wiggins, Johnny Sanders, Bryan Schaffer, Nicole Faulkner, Mike Martin, Jeremy Bittick, Danny Moore, Chris Wheeler and Tim Bryan; six dispatchers – Genera Bolton, Betty Burgay, Edna Boykins, Danny Joe Brown, Tashia Thompson, Jennifer Jolley and Daniel Williamson; secretary, Donna Dugger.
Historical Society