Clovis Police Officer Sgt. Shelby Cox has supported the public safety of Clovis for 52 years. His role model father Leroy Cox (1913-2006) retired from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department after 25 years of service.
Shelby was born in San Francisco in 1935 and his family arrived here in 1937. He graduated from Clovis High School in 1954. The Cavalcade stated: “Oh, Margie (Margie Weston, 1955 Clovis High graduate and his future bride), shy grin, football, slick hair and a very fine swimmer.”
He joined the Clovis Police Reserve in July of 1963 and became a sworn officer in October that same year. Police Chief Tom Higgason (Chief from 1956-1980) and Lieutenant Gino Pishione (retired as Captain in 1986 after 34 years of service) headed the department.
Clovis Police Chief Matt Basgall (appointed Chief in 2014) documented that in 1963 there were two patrol cars and two officers on shift that served a city of 8,000. The officers rode together when one of the cars broke down. Shelby would earn his associates degree in Police Science from Fresno City College and a BA in Criminology at Fresno State while serving on the force.
Chief Basgall recently stated: “Rarely do you find a person who dedicates him or herself to more than 50 years of service to one organization.” Former Clovis Police Chief (Chief, 1987-2002) Joe Maskovich described Shelby: “He is everything we want our officers to be and is an excellent role model for the younger members of the force.”
We are quoting from a 1987 article written by Clovis Police Captain Pat Patterson: “For all of 1963, there were 64 reported crimes of burglary, robbery and grand theft, resulting in a combined loss of $14,350. By 1964, growth trends were continuing and the Clovis Police Department had grown to a complement of 14 sworn officers.”
Shelby was promoted to Sergeant in 1976. He is credited with organizing the Clovis Police Department’s Explorer Post and the Clovis Neighborhood Watch Program. He also secured several grants that included the department’s first traffic enforcement grant that targeted drunk driving.
In 1940 the first Police office was built in the back of the Clovis Justice Courthouse (now the Clovis Museum, 401 Pollasky). The Police moved into the new 1953 City Hall complex (511 Pollasky, later DMV building) that provided two temporary cells and a drunk cell.
We asked Shelby to share some of his “unique” events. He received an urgent request by Chief Higgason to “take over” the new switchboard that the Chief had managed to disrupt completely. All telephone calls were received by the Police and routed to other departments at that time.
Shelby remembered the “streaking 1970’s” defined as ”running naked through a public place as a prank or dare.” There was an intoxicated naked lady pushing a little red wagon down the middle of Pollasky. It was a difficult few seconds to secure a blanket and arrest the “lady.”
Shelby retired in 1997 but returned as a civilian employee the next week. He is in charge of all subpoenas, schedules ride-alongs and supports the record department. Not long ago an irate citizen was berating the records staff and they sought the help of Shelby. The man stated he was 70 years old and Shelby responded that he was 80 years old and ready to help in any way.
Shelby was inducted into the Clovis Hall of Fame in 1999. He and his wife Margie were active community leaders who raised funds for the 1965 Clovis Hospital (Sierra & DeWitt). Shelby serves on the boards of the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Historical Society and the Clovis Exchange Club. He is also a long time Clovis Rodeo member.
Shelby continues to provide us a rich heritage.