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Chief Cunningham deserves honor too

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I read in the Courier where the City Council named the police building in honor of Pete Peterson who served a few years ago as Chief of Police. With no disrespect to Chief Peterson, this community failed to honor someone just as deserving, if not more, due to a lack of due diligence and institutional memory.

Just as the school district failed a few years ago to honor people who contributed to the district in the 1950's and 1960's, the council missed a chance to honor Chief LeRoy Cunningham who joined the force in 1953 and served as chief of police for 27 years until his retirement in 1983 after 30 years of service. He did not come from outside the area but was born, raised and died in this community.

When he started, there were just a handful of officers with him, such as Lt. Hank Trantham, Sergeant Ray Stane and others who we knew and remember. He did his best to keep the department and himself up to date. As his family can attest, it was a 24/7 job for him.

When he retired, there were dozens working for the department. For those of us who knew and respected Chief Cunningham - known in law enforcement circles as the "dean of law enforcement" - this was a slap in the face to his memory and service to the community.

Perhaps elected officials will take this as a lesson, when naming buildings, schools, parks, etc., and see if there are are deserving people who contributed before they were born or moved into the area.

Bill Caruso