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News of Otsego County

new york state trooper

In Memoriam Richard ‘Dick’ Shutts 1934-2022
In Memoriam

Richard ‘Dick’ Shutts

1934-2022

UNADILLA—Richard “Dick” Shutts, 88, of Unadilla, died peacefully on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, in Oneonta, surrounded by his loving family.

He served in the Army from 1956 to 1958. He was a New York State Trooper for a short period of time when he met the love of his life, Diane. Richard spent most of his career as a heavy equipment operator, including at Stevens Excavating in Otego. He also worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance as an agent for 11 years and Howe Gas in Sidney.

BERKSON: Otsego Lawman, Cunningham, Served Otsego County With ‘Sleuth-Like’ Attention
LETTER from TERRY BERKSON

Otsego Lawman, Cunningham, Served

Otsego County With ‘Sleuth-Like’ Attention

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

John L. Cunningham became a New York State Trooper in 1917. He was among the 232 selected men who made up the first wave of the newly formed organization that would serve to uphold the law in rural areas under the leadership of Major George Fletcher Chandler.

Up until that time Cunningham, who was originally from Glens Falls, worked as a shirt cutter for 18 years. No doubt the newly formed force appealed to a now stationary 35 year old “man-with-scissors” who still loved to swim and had once been a high school basketball and track star.

He was a natural for equestrian and law enforcement training and excelled as a State Trooper. Within four years he was promoted to sergeant and transferred to an outpost in Cooperstown which was a substation of Troop C that was located in Sidney.

In Leatherstocking country he was provided a place in the village to live, conduct his police activities and board a horse upon which he patrolled Cooperstown and other environs in and out of Otsego and neighboring Counties. Because of his style and strict but fair enforcement of the law, he was already a local celebrity, by the time he married Elizabeth Lukas in 1931. They continued to live in various outposts in the village that were provided by The State Police.

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