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33 Years a City Policeman



This article appeared in the Dayton Journal Herald on July 9, 1957


33 Years A City Policeman…Shephard Recalls Old Days

By Dan McLaughlin

     “Remember how we used to meet and pair up to patrol Dippy Hollow,” said Det. Capt. Roy T. Shephard yesterday.

     He was talking to Det. Sgt. E. B. McFadden. The reason for the recollection was that yesterday marked the captain’s 23rd year as a Dayton policeman. McFadden is no recruit either. He’s got 28 years with the division.

     “Dippy Hollow? Oh, that’s the area around Fifth and Wayne. It got that name during prohibition.”

     Shephard recalled during 1929 he patrolled a beat south of that area and McFadden had the one to the north.

     “We’d meet at 11 p.m. and stay together until the things quieted down in the early morning hours,” Shephard said. “It wasn’t safe for a policeman to be alone in that area during those hours. Nearly every other door led to a bootleg joint.”


Joined in 1924


     The 56-year-old captain joined the division July 8, 1924. Yesterday he was on the job as many other policemen except he could say he was the only one in the Safety building with 33 years continuous service.

     Shephard was promoted to sergeant in December, 1935, and to captain in August, 1942. There were no lieutenants with the division then. The captain lives with his wife, Elizabeth, at 927 North Western avenue.

     He looked back over the years and remembered he was the first policeman to use a cruiser in Dayton.

     One recollection led to another and Sergeant McFadden mentioned the old Flying Squad. He explained it was composed of four men and two autos.

     The men were stationed at headquarters with the vehicles and were used on emergency runs when the beat patrolmen couldn’t be found soon enough. There were no radios and it was up to the beat man to check in every hour.


Lights Flashed

     If they were wanted in a hurry a red light would flash on top of their call box.

     “We were supposed to keep our eyes on the box and when it flashed we were to call in right away,” Shephard said. “They used to time us and if we took too long we’d have to see the boss man the next day and explain why. And I remember, the excuses had to be good.”

     When the delay occurred that’s where the Flying Squad took off. The captain chuckled as he recalled his duty with the squad.

     Shephard said his training consisted of following an older patrolman for three days. On the fourth day he was on his own. Today recruits get seven weeks at the police academy.

     Would he do it again if he had the chance? He was asked.

     “It has been very nice and the people treated me pretty good,” he answered. “Looking back now, I’d say yes. I’d do it again.”

     How about retirement?

     “No, I’m not thinking of it now. I could have after 25 years, but let’s just say I’m not considering it at present.”

     “Come on,” said McFadden, “It’s after five o’clock. Let’s get out of here.”

     The captain’s eyes focused from 33 years in the past to the second hand on the call clock. “Yes. Let’s go,” he said.

     And both men walked into the future.