Former Police Chief, Justice Of The Peace, Dies

His influence stretched across East Texas. Former Jacksonville police chief and Cherokee County justice of the peace Archie Cook died Saturday. He was 85 years old.

The flag flew at half staff Monday outside the police station in Jacksonville. An honor for a man who gave so much to his community. Bullard Police Chief Gary Don Lewis runs his own department now. But as a young man in 1979, it was Cook who gave him his start.

"So many people now have a hard time just getting that opportunity and getting someone to give them that chance to go into law enforcement and he gave me that chance and I was appreciative of it."

As a family friend, Lewis had known Cook for many years, but it wasn't until he began working as a Jacksonville Police officer that he saw the man he truly was.

"He was that person he had an answer or he would address that answer and good or bad whether he liked you or disliked you, everybody was treated fair and equal."

It's that type of attitude that attracted men like Floyd Stiefer. Stiefer would go on to become the Jacksonville Police Chief himself, but looks back fondly on the day he began his career. "

"(Cook) called me and told me, yes he was interested, and he called and wanted me to come down so I went down there had an interview with him and he hired me right away."

They would begin a long relationship that day, making headlines not only for their police work, but for their commitment to community.

"He had the feel for the people, he was concerned with the crime rate and what he could do with young adults."

It's those qualities that have made a difference in others.

"Good or bad you done something wrong you suffered the penalty of the law whether he knew you or didn't know you," said Lewis. "Probably alot of those qualities carried over with me (in Bullard).

After retiring from the police department, Cook served as a justice of the peace in Cherokee County for 12 years. His funeral is set for Wednesday, at 2 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home in Jacksonville.

Chris Gibson, reporting