Acting police chief has long ties to Valley Falls
by Clarke Davis
Cory Shields, 46, a veteran police officer in both Jefferson and Jackson counties, is the new acting police chief in Valley Falls.
Shields, who lives south of Holton, has been a part-time officer for Valley Falls since January 2001, not long before former Police Chief Gordon Bledsoe retired.
Mayor Charles Stutesman and the council learned soon after the dismissal of Police Chief Tammy Gross that there are some things in law enforcement that only a designated chief can do.
Shields has been given the title on a temporary basis until a new chief of police can be hired, probably sometime in May.
The officer said he has not seen the advertisement with the specifications the city is looking for, but is considering applying for the full-time position.
Shields is a trainer and lead person on the security force at St. Francis Health Care in Topeka where he has been since 1994.
He started in law enforcement in 1989 as a dispatcher for the city of Holton. He has also worked for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Capitol Police, an arm of the Highway Patrol. He was an unsuccessful write-in candidate for Jackson County sheriff in the late ’90s.
He and his wife, Barb, an emissions supervisor at the hospital, have three sons ranging in ages from 14 to 21, and one grandchild.
The officer’s history with the community goes back to his birth date. His parents, Elfrieda and the late Jerry Shields, moved here in the early 1960s and operated a jewelry store. Cory was born at the Jefferson County Memorial Hospital in Winchester. The family moved in 1967 and he wound up graduating from Holton High School.
Shields described Valley Falls as a good town and a quiet town for the most part. The part of his job he hates the most is dealing with the domestic abuse calls.
In regard to traffic, he said, “The kids know that we are there for a reason — to keep people safe.”
He said he has no problem with the time-honored tradition of making U-turns (doing Ueees) on Broadway. A group of parents responded to a Facebook protest recently and filled the street when they thought one of the officers was trying to shut down the fun.
“The kids just need to follow the law and keep it safe and fun,” Shields said.
Other part-time officers working for the city are Doug Ashcraft, who has been with the city for nearly eight years, and new officers Derek Charles and Joshua Pence.
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