Calvin Hawkinson, former police chief of Minneapolis

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 7, 2010 - 8:39 PM

As the meticulous officer and investigator rose through the ranks, he was also a model administrator.

Calvin F. Hawkinson wanted to be a fireman, but when he took civil service tests to qualify for city jobs, he passed the exam for becoming a police officer. He started as a patrol officer with the Minneapolis Police Department in 1942, and once he was on the force, there was nothing else he ever wanted to be.

"He really took to it," said his granddaughter Jennifer Shasky Calvery of Alexandria, Va.

Known for his precise detail in reports and investigations, his calm demeanor and for taking time to listen to people, Hawkinson rose to the top of the department, serving as a detective, sergeant, homicide investigator, captain and duty inspector on his way to becoming chief of police. In 1964, he was appointed to that position by Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin, and he served as the city's top cop until 1968. He capped his 36-year career in law enforcement by serving as the second police chief in the city of Plymouth from 1969 to 1979.

Hawkinson died of congestive heart failure Sunday at the St. Anthony Health Center Hospice in St. Anthony, one week after his wife of 71 years, Marian, died. He was 94.

"He served as a model as a police administrator," said Don Davis, former Brooklyn Park police chief and commissioner of public safety under Gov. Arne Carlson. "He was a gentleman, a positive mentor and stable and even on how he dealt with people."

Known for being meticulous

As chief in Minneapolis, Hawkinson was responsible for creating a community relations unit and training officers to respond to civil disorder at a time when civil disturbances were on the rise. He also developed procedure manuals for the department, his granddaughter said.

During his 24 years with the Minneapolis force, Hawkinson earned a reputation for being meticulous. His reports contained even the smallest of details, and he was known to carry notebooks with photos of suspects replete with name, known address, vehicle information and known accomplices. The dogged investigator earned 11 departmental commendations and numerous awards as he looked into everything from simple assaults to high-profile cases such as the 1963 murder-for-hire case of Carol Thompson that eventually led to the conviction of her husband, T. Eugene Thompson.

In Plymouth, Hawkinson started the investigative division and crime prevention services offered by the department to the community, said Bob Cox, a department spokeswoman. Hawkinson also was head of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association in the 1970s.

Hawkinson graduated from Minneapolis Roosevelt High School and served in the Navy during World War II. He attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

He was a lifelong golfer who made custom golf clubs, Davis said. Hawkinson registered two holes in one at Francis A. Gross Golf Course in Minneapolis, where he was a regular and played 36 holes as recently as last summer, Shasky Calvery said. He was an avid reader, a Twins, Vikings and Gophers fan, studied genealogy and was a former member of the American Legion and Knights of Columbus.

Hawkinson is survived by a daughter, Joan Shasky, of Edina, a son, Richard, of Richfield, three grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Church of St. Charles Borromeo, 2739 Stinson Blvd., Minneapolis. Visitation will be held one hour before services at the church.

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