Tag: Timber Town and Later

Sheriff Jim Smith's patrol car with two-way radio (ca. 1951)
Sheriff Jim Smith's patrol car with two-way radio (ca. 1951)

With all the news about Eatonville’s police department lately, I thought it might be a good time to look back at the town’s law enforcement.

Moving through Marshals
Eatonville has had its ups and down with law enforcement since 1907, when the first town marshall was appointed — L. E. Martin. Martin’s job wasn’t glamorous. “He was not only the marshall but was instructed by the clerk or the mayor to do such things as ‘remove a bench from in front of  the liquor store, as it was a nuisance,’ and to ‘push over the out house at the Columbia Cafe, and fill in the excavation’ on a certain date if the owner didn’t make improvements.”

Marshals came and went. In the early years, they didn’t seem to stay more than a year.

“On September 7, 1925, Dollar LaPlante was marshal. He was sent to check on a shooting spree by a drunk. He came unarmed, the man pulled a gun and LaPlante was killed. The man was convicted and sent to prison.”

“In October 1939, the marshal asked that a lavatory be built in the town hall so it wouldn’t be necessary to take the prisoners out and also that a steel door be built on the jail.” Back then officers were also trying to get money for car expenses because they were using their own vehicles. They were denied.

“In 1947, a suit for false arrest was brought against the marshal. Citizens urged his dismissal. As a result the mayor resigned. The new mayor appointed a new marshal. In 1948, the marshal’s salary was set at $265 a month, and his was granted a car allowance of $40. He got of $15 raise in 1950.”

In November, 1951 a group of “interested citizens” met at the Dispatch office with the Pierce County Sheriff because they wanted a deputy sheriff and radio patrol car to be permanently located in southeastern Pierce County. There had been a number of instances of cattle rustling and other crimes in the area. After some months Deputy Sheriff Jim Simth was assigned to the new position created by the Board of County Commissioners. The town patrol car was equipped iwth a two-way radio as was the deputy’s car, for copperation of the two agencies.”

In 1967 Tony DelVicchio took the job until April 1970 when he died and Dick Carney too over as acting town marshal. By 1969 people wanted a second police officer, but he council decided it wasn’t feasible at that time.

Information taken from Timber Town and Later.

Images courtesy of the Smith family.

Click on image to enlarge.