Edward Stringfellow, known for his fairness, put fear in criminals
...Edward Joe Stringfellow
, former Houston police officer and city marshal, died Wednesday at a local hospital.He
The lyrics quoted above were written about Stringfellow
in the early 1970s during his
long tenure as a narcotics officer with the Houston Police Department
. No one remembers who wrote the song, but Stringfellow liked it, said retired Houston police officer Al Blair.
"They'd hear Stringfellow
was looking for them, and they'd come on in and say, `I want to get my business straight.' They didn't want String looking for them," Williams said.
..."He was probably the sweetest guy in the world you didn't ever want to mess with," said J.C. Mosier, chief deputy of the Precinct 1 Constable's Office, who worked with Stringfellow as a rookie in the Third Ward.
...When Stringfellow joined HPD in 1954, a member of Police Cadet Class No. 11, there were about a dozen black officers out of a force of about 1,000.
The department was segregated then.Black officers were not usually given patrol cars but walked their beats, mostly in the Third and Fifth wards near downtown where most of the city's black population lived.
Black officers could not arrest a white person and were given hand-me-down equipment.They dressed and ate separately from white officers and had separate bathrooms.
The new narcotics division was integrated, and Stringfellow
went undercover to buy drugs from both black and white pushers.
During the next two decades, he
arrested more than 500 suspects.He
was so prolific in the first few years that the Texas Department of Public Safety
, which had no black officers at the time, asked to "borrow" him frequently, and he
worked cases all over the state. Stringfellow
's last partner in narcotics was Joe Landrum, who said during their eight or nine years together, Stringfellow "was like my father."
A year later, Mayor Jim McConn named Stringfellow
the chief city marshal, a position he
held until he
retired from the city in 1995.
In February 1996, Nuchia presided over a ceremony renaming the department's old Southeast Command Station on Mykawa Road the Edward J. Stringfellow South Police Station.
is survived by his
wife of 51 years, Alberta, and children Edna and Edward Jr. His
body will lie in state from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, 3826 Wheeler Ave., and his
funeral services will begin at 11 a.m.