Shed retires after 24 years in law enforcement
The City of Minden will soon lose one of its finest. After 24 years of dedicated service Lt. Willie Shed will park his Minden Police Department patrol car and sign off on reports one last time Sunday, April 15.
Lt. Shed or MP3 has been third in command for the last four years with the call number MP2 going to Captain Julie Harmon and MP1 belonging to none other than Chief Steve Cropper.
MP3 is a long way from MP16, the call number he was given when he was first hired in 1987.
After driving a truck for two different employers and a tour in Vietnam in between, the desire to stay where his roots run deep brought Shed to the Minden Police Department.
"I've done a little of everything. I used to drive trucks for the Webster Parish Police Jury and haul equipment around for several years," Shed said. "I was drafted in 1969 and I served a tour in Vietnam.
"I was with the 4th infantry division ... it was an experience I wouldn't want my kids to go through."
Lt. Shed was fortunate to return home without any injuries, but he did experience many of his comrades being shot or wounded.
Besides the malaria he came home with from his tour of duty, Shed said he also gained and brought home the ability to work with all kinds of people.
"I learned to get along with people ... different races. We had people serving from all over the country and nationalities. We had people from Guam, Puerto Rico, Korea, and we had to interact with all of them."
After several years state side, his Aeropress truck driving job took a turn for the worse.
"They shut down the graveyard shift and they asked me to move to California," Lt. Shed said.
A move to California was not in the plan for him.
"I was married and I wasn't going to move to California," he said. "I bought a home, a little place down in Sibley on the Penal Farm Road, so I wasn't interested in moving to California. All my roots were right here." he said.
In need of a job, Shed applied to be a police officer after then MPD Lt. Jack Tucker suggested he would make a good one.
The first two years of his 24 were spent working under Police Chief Chester Adcock, with the next 20 or so with Chief T.C. Bloxom, Jr. His last year with the department has been under the direction of Chief Steve Cropper.
Three police chiefs and 24 years have brought a few changes but for Shed the best changes have been the availability of new and better equipment. He suggested the most complicated change he has encountered would be the dreaded computer.
"The younger guys teach me how to use the computer," he said. "We have gone to a new system, and I'm not real gifted with computers."
According to Shed, in his 24 years, the laws, the people they continually deal with or the way his department handles them have not changed much.
"We have always dealt with the younger people. I don't know, but it seems as though after 25 years of age they start developing a little more sense," he said.
"Usually, it's the teenagers up to the young adults in their 20's we have to deal with more than any other people."
One thing Shed did suggest that has changed and made his department become more cautious is that people are more apt to be carrying guns or concealed weapons.
Over the years, sometimes his family weighed heavier on his mind when he was headed to a call than other times.
"You always think of your family when going on a call especially a shooting call or something like that," he said. "The thought runs through your mind if something happens the things you would want done."
Shed said he also took measures to shield his family from what he saw or knew about.
"I really didn't discuss things that went on during the job at home with my family. I kept that separate," Shed said.
One call that stands out in his mind was a shooting that occurred in the parking lot of what was once known as Riley's Store, now Abrahams, on the corner of Carolina and East streets.
The suspects were caught and no one was seriously injured and that is why the incident stands out so vividly for Shed.
"(The suspects) had discharged two rounds and a couple of young people were hit," he said. "They were using small pellets, birdshot or something like that. This could have been a lot worse. Like I said, it was light shot ... if it had been double-ought buck or something like that, it would have been some people really injured."
Another shooting incident where everything turned out okay stands out in Shed's mind as well. This time, because it got a little tense for him before back-up arrived.
This shooting occurred, according to Shed, in the area by Joe's Dixie Cream at a café, now gone, called Super Courts and was the result of an argument between a local man and men from Gibsland.
Once again, small shots were fired and minor injuries were sustained but this time the shots had not been fired directly at the victims, according to Shed.
"He shot into the pavement in front of them but the shots ricocheted and some of the shots caught the guys in the chest area," Shed said.
Shed was first on the scene and his first instinct was to pursue the shooter but the well-being of the victims took precedence and he returned to them to give assistance.
"I was trying to get medical attention for the guys that were hit and they were resisting and I was just trying to help them," he said.
While dealing with one of the resisting victims, an officer showed up just in time.
"Julie (Harmon) came up in a patrol unit and he saw her and I was able to get handcuffs on him. I was restraining him for my own protection and get him medical attention. Julie came up just in time because I was having a time with this guy, but when he saw the other patrol unit he submitted."
If Lt. Shed could name the kind of call that gives him the most rewarding feeling it would be locating an elderly person who has gotten lost and returning that person to loved ones.
"I like seeing the relief in their expression when you find their family member," he said.
"We have helped a lot of people. Many times people get lost – especially people with Alzheimer's," Shed said.
Although Lt. Shed said he would miss the camaraderie among his fellow officers, he already has a plan for the next phase of his life and he is looking forward to it.
"I like to tinker. I like to do things with my hands ... I always have.
"So, I was thinking about opening a small engine shop to work on power tools, lawn mowers, power saws and weed eaters," Shed said.
Lt. Shed has been married for 43 years to Shirley, who he said is the love of his life.
"When I was overseas in Vietnam, it was hard being away from her," he said. "She used to live down the street from my aunt in Monroe so we grew up together."
By the time this story is printed Lt. Shed will only have a few days before he and Shirley begin to experience his retirement together.
What will he do before he starts tinkering in that small engines shop?
"I'm gonna fish," he said with a sparkle in his eyes and a big smile across his face.
"I bought me a boat and I bought me a truck. My wife drives the truck to and from work every day but she is going to have to get out of it," he laughingly said.
He may take over the driver's seat of the truck, but Shirley will be by his side anytime she wants to go on a fishing trip with him.
"Oh yeah, I'm going to take her. She likes to ride in the boat," he said.
Willie and Shirley have three daughters, Renea Shed Wilkerson, Xavier Shed, Charity Rebekah Shed and one son, Willie Shed, Jr., and six grandchildren.