ALBANY – Albany Police Chief Russell Hutchinson, the longest-serving police chief in Louisiana, passed away Monday, Mayor Eileen Bates-McCarroll said.
Hutchinson passed away at 7:10 a.m. at home with his family present, she said. He was 71.
Last year, Hutchinson was elected to his 11th term as police chief, but in a small town such as Albany, he was more than a public official.
“He was not only my police chief, but a childhood friend,” McCarroll said Monday. “I’ve lived across the street from him since 1978.”
“He was my friend and a special person,” the mayor said. “All of Albany and all of the people involved in law enforcement knew him.
“He was such a wonderful person.”
Hutchinson took office on Sept. 30, 1978, one day after his 30th birthday.
Hutchinson -- who was in his third year as justice of the peace -- ran in a spring 1978 election that ended in a tie with incumbent Carlton Staton.
State Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler determined two voters were not properly registered, which led to another election and Hutchinson’s victory.
Last November, after winning re-election, Hutchinson reflected about his career in law enforcement.
Hutchinson, who grew up on a dairy farm on Pea Ridge Road (near Blood River Baptist Church), pursued a career in law enforcement when he decided that the construction business wouldn't provide him a steady source of income.
He operated five years with the service of one part-time deputy, which kept him on call seven days a week, Hutchinson said.
The demands Hutchinson faced as the department's sole full-time employee led the town to wire the Police Department phone to his house.
"I worked four years without a break," he said. "I almost quit because I couldn't do anything outside of that ... the money was very tight for the town back then."
Bates-McCarroll became the seventh mayor that Hutchinson worked with after both were sworn in to office in January.
Funeral arrangements, still being finalized, are being handled by Brandon G. Thompson Funeral Home.