Longstanding Columbia police chief dies at 88

Monday, November 12, 2012 | 7:17 p.m. CST; updated 9:34 p.m. CST, Monday, November 12, 2012

COLUMBIA — Columbia's longest serving Police Chief Paul Cheavens died Sunday at the age of 88. 

Cheavens served the Columbia Police Department for 25 years, joining the force as a patrolman in 1950. After two years on patrol and two as a detective, he was promoted to chief in 1954. He retired in 1975, and his 21 years of service make him the record holder of longest standing police chief.

"Chief Cheavens will be remembered as a long standing leader in this community," current Police Chief Ken Burton said in a news release. "He will be missed."

Cheavens was a graduate of the FBI's National Academy and the former president of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, according to the release. Cheavens was a veteran of the Air Force and earned a Distinguished  Flying Cross and Air Medal for his service in the Pacific during World War II, according to Missourian file stories.

During his career, Cheavens was involved in police training and raising the standards for officers in Missouri. His work with the Missouri Peace Officers Association in Rolla helped improve officer training throughout the state, according to file stories.

Services will be Friday at the Nashville Baptist Church in Ashland where he served as a deacon. He is survived by his wife, Olive Cheavens, and his children, Stephen Cheavens and Debra Goodwin.

The Columbia Police Department will pay its respects to Cheavens by assisting the family at the funeral, according to the release.

Missourian reporter Gaby Ramirez contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.


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