Hancock honors late police chief

September 11, 1997


Staff Writer

HANCOCK - Hancock Town Councilman Darwin Mills remembers what former Hancock Police Chief Howard N. Murfin told him when Mills was a 21-year-old rookie police officer.

"He said `Darwin, don't forget, being a policeman don't just mean locking people up, it means helping people."

Mills said Murfin, who died in 1988, had a knack for seeing the good in people - even those he was locking up.

Murfin was honored Wednesday night by Hancock's mayor and Town Council. Past mayors Bruce Clipp, Maurice Landers and Dan Fleming and about 60 others turned out to honor him.


"He was the most loyal and dedicated employee I think the town will ever have," Mills said.

A display in Town Hall dedicated Wednesday includes photos of the chief, his badge, and plaques of appreciation.

Former mayor Fleming said Murfin was "a one-man police force."

"His work ethic was second to none."

Fleming said if Murfin got a call, day or night, he would be on the job.

"When the phone rang, Howard was on the way."

Fleming said that in the 1940s, Main Street in Hancock was "wall to wall people" on a Saturday night.

"Country brawls" would break out outside town bars and Murfin, the town's only cop, would go in alone and break up the fights.

"It took a brave man to do what he did alone," Fleming said.

In earlier newspaper articles, Murfin recalls locking up dozens of drunks and brawlers. And unlike today, Murfin didn't have a police car for his first 8 years on the job, so arresting a drunk meant dragging them halfway across town to the town jail.

Murfin also was a longtime member of the Hancock Volunteer Fire Co., Fleming said. Murfin could be counted on to clean out the hoses at the fire station after a run. It wasn't the cleanest of work, but Murfin simply took off his uniform, put on some work clothes and went at it, Fleming said.

"He was top notch, he was the best."

The Herald-Mail Articles