“Happy” Shuttleworth

February 9, 1894 – Milton Hershey established the Hershey Chocolate Company in Lancaster, PA. He probably never knew what a change in American culture his company would bring. In Pensacola, Raymond F. Shuttleworth was born. The town probably never knew the impact he would have.

Raymond grew up in Pensacola, attending local schools and becoming an ingrained member of the small southern community located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. His playground was downtown, around Palafox and Romana Streets.

When he was 33 years old, he made the move to fulfill his lifelong dream – to become a member of the Pensacola Police Force. He started out as a patrolman walking a beat among his family and friends around his childhood home. It was about this time that he inherited the nickname “Happy.” You see, Raymond was a naturally likeable guy. He had an easy-going way about him. As a matter of fact, he didn’t fit the typical policeman persona at all. He was small – 5’6”, kind of scrawny – 160, laid back, and he was…funny. Anytime Raymond was around, folks were laughing. He had a sense of humor – everyone waited for his next wisecrack. Never a dull moment with Happy!

And Happy never hurried anywhere. He walked with a unique kind of slow, deliberate, shuffle. Happy was on his own timeline. He did not wear a wristwatch. He kept an old-fashioned pocket-watch with him. “You can always tell the kind of man by the watch he carries” said Happy once upon a time.

His hard work, talent and unique way about him began to show through and he quickly made turnkey, then special officer and then detective. There – the detective bureau – is where he found it. Like opening up a chest and finding it full of treasure, Happy found his niche. He, and everyone else discovered that, in addition to being witty, likeable, and fun to be around, he was smart – really smart. Few people possess the natural inclination towards begin a detective. Many can do the job well, and some are exceptional. But a few have the built-in abilities. When they join those abilities with effort and persistence, they become extraordinary. That was Detective Shuttleworth. He was good…very good. And he loved it. And the Department loved it.

There was once an incident where Happy and his partner, Crosby Hall, were called to an armed disturbance. When they arrived, one man had shot another with a shotgun, and the suspect wasn’t about to give up. The two detectives got closer to the man, who was standing in a doorway with the shotgun ready to be fired. Suddenly, Hall grabbed the barrel and Happy grabbed the suspect by the neck. It was over. They got him subdued and put the cuffs on him. No fear.

When he was a detective in the 1930s, he and his partner Crosby Hall (who later became chief) became sort of local celebrity crime fighters. It was kinda like they had their own television show. They were known all over town as “The Gang Busters” because of the numerous criminal gangs they broke up. It was said that Happy cleared more cases than any other detective in the history of the police department. The truth is, Crosby Hall was an “okay” detective, but Happy was superior.

It is an intimidating but reassuring feeling to be an “okay” detective working with a superior one. You feel inadequate, always thinking “what am I doing? He knows what should be done. I’m just guessing.” But you know that you can always depend on this unparalleled investigator to give you the solution. He is a natural at it. That was Happy.

One of those moments that Crosby Hall remembered was “The Diamond Shoeman” burglaries. It was a huge problem. Over a six-month period, 165 houses had been broken into. The object stolen was almost always cash. The burglar wore shoes with a diamond print sole that he often left at the scene. As the media does, they immediately labeled him as “The Diamond Shoeman.” In one of the burglaries, peanut brittle was also taken. Happy thought about it. Something sounded familiar…He had it! He remembered – yes, he remembered the name of the young man who LOVED peanut brittle. Had to be him! Happy and Crosby went to the home of the man with the sweet tooth, Henry Cook.

“Come to the station with us, please.” Said Detective Shuttleworth in his unassuming way. “We have some questions for you.” After a brief interview in the presence of the calm, soft-spoken veteran officer, Mr. Cook admitted to committing the burglary and stealing the peanut brittle. He also admitted to committing all of the other burglaries. Afterwards, Cook thanked Happy for being so nice. He was sentenced to prison for 40 years.

After gaining status as somewhat of a local hero investigator, Happy was rewarded with a promotion to Patrol Captain. He reluctantly accepted and took on the responsibility of running a shift. Yes, wearing the rank of a captain was a lofty, esteemed position, but Happy felt unfulfilled. After trying to fit in to his new position, he finally gave up and returned the promotion to become a detective again, a position that he was made for.

Then, in 1949, he was called into the chief’s office. It was not a room he hadn’t been in before – the chief was his friend and old partner Crosby Hall.

“Happy, as you know, the Captain of Investigations position is now open. I want you to take it.”

Happy’s face looked as unemotional as ever as he accepted, but inside he was beaming. His heart was fluttering. He was finally able to command the division that he loved. It was a dream come true!

The story goes like such…

A residential burglary occurred downtown. As officers and detectives were combing through the evidence in the house, they came upon a “different” piece of evidence – an apple that had a bite taken out of it. Often, a burglar, while in the house, will add insult to injury by violating the victim even further – use the bathroom, go through intimate clothing, or eating some food.

Enter Captain Shuttleworth. In his usual easy manner, he sauntered around the crime scene, his observant eye missing nothing. His eyes fell on the apple. He casually picked it up, looked at it, and said “Hmmm…I know who did this. There is only one guy with teeth like this.”

He left the scene and officers, drove straight to the home of the suspected culprit, and picked him up. Using his dental impression “evidence,” he confronted the suspect, who immediately confessed. Interesting – the first known instance of using dental impressions to make an arrest!

In 1952, Happy retired as one of the most successful Pensacola Police Officers in history. He passed away in 1958. It can’t be said about many officers, but Happy Shuttleworth had a major impact on the police officers he worked with and the entire department.

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