Larry “Golden” Shaffer #3105, retired Seattle Police Patrol Officer passed away on October 27, 2017 at the age of 77.
Larry was born and raised in Raymond City, West Virginia – coal country. One of his best friends growing up was the All Pro basketball player Jerry West – “Mr. Inside, Outside.” When the Seattle Super Sonics were vying with the LA Lakers for the conference championship in order to go to the playoffs in the mid-1970s, West was the Sonic’s nemesis, both as a player and later as a coach.
Upon graduation from high school, Larry joined the Navy reserves. Upon completing basic training, he decided ship life wasn’t for him. He returned home on leave and immediately joined the Air Force. The Navy contacted him, saying “you can’t do this.” Larry replied, “Yes, I can. It’s done.” Then the Navy rep asked him why he jumped ship. Larry told him because the Air Force sends officers out to fight. Us enlisted guys are smarter, we stay behind. Larry’s MOS was aircraft mechanic, working on B52 strategic bombers. He was honorably discharged in 1962. He left Mississippi and moved to Seattle where he landed a job at Boeing, working on 707 airliners. After seven years on the production line, Larry needed a change. He saw the advertisement for the Seattle Police Department in 1968. During the late 1960s, all major city police departments were expanding due to urban riots and an uptick in violent crimes.
Larry was hired in April 1969. He stayed in Patrol his entire 30-year career. He worked every watch in all four precincts. There was not a Southwest Precinct then.
During an afternoon shift in the South Precinct, Larry was behind a speeder on Meyers Way at 1st S. The speeder blew the stop sign, then attempted a high speed left turn and lost control. He spun 180 degrees, now facing the squad car. His next move was to ram the prowl car’s driver side. He then backed up to ram again. Larry took this opportunity to get out on the passenger side of the prowl car for cover. The suspect rammed the squad car again, but glanced off and crashed through a store front. The suspect’s car died. Larry entered the store with drawn revolver and ordered the suspect driver out of the car. He got out, put on sunglasses, and ordered Larry to shoot him. By this time, Larry decided “mace” was in order. So instead of shooting, he sprayed the suspect. He just stood there, took off his sunglasses and wiped them clean. Larry sprayed him again really good. At this time, A King County Mountie arrived and helped Larry to restrain the suspect. As Larry inventoried the disabled vehicle, he saw a dead dog in the back seat. He asked the suspect what he was doing with a dead dog in his car. He replied, “I’m a veterinarian, giving first aid by driving at high speed with the windows down to give the dog fresh air to revive it.” Larry took the suspect to KCH 7th floor and cleared the call with a 220 Adam.
Larry seemed to have a knack for responding to calls with animals. One night shift, he responded to the West Central Precinct’s industrial Flat Land to an alarm. Larry, his partner, and the night watchman searched the premise. No human suspect, but a feral cat was found breaking the beams and window contacts. Larry managed to coach the cat into his arms in order to release it outside. While walking the cat to the exit, it suddenly attacked Larry, biting him on his lower lip and would not let go. Larry had to choke the cat out to get it to release his lip. He impounded the cat the Humane Society for observation and began his rabies treatment.
Another time, while working with Larry Sutton #2586 (they were called the “Larry and Larry Show) both Larry’s were dispatched to an abandoned blocking vehicle on the viaduct. While waiting for the tow truck, they saw two drunks down on a pier, fighting over a bottle of wine. The fight was starting to get vicious, but there was no way for the officers to leave their call and get down to the pier to break up the fight. So, Larry Shaffer announced over the PA, “Hey you two, knock it off! This is God speaking!!!” The two drunks quit fighting and fell onto their knees in a praying posture. Fight solved.
The two Larry’s worked together for many years. It got to the point that sometimes they introduced themselves by using the other’s name. Larry Sutton passed away earlier this year, so the question is, are the two Larry’s now swapping names on Saint Peter to confuse him like they did IIS?
Larry Shaffer finished out his career in the North Precinct. There, he met the love of his life, Joan, at his favorite coffee stop, and married her in 1992. He retired in April 1999.
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Joan; daughter Denise; sons Troy, Scott, Shawn and Jesse; and six grandchildren.