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Issue Date: March 2012


Erick Trickey

The lights along the East Ninth Street pier glowed with noirish menace, but only the gulls stirred. The old passenger ferry building, later the site of Captain Frank’s Seafood Restaurant, stood quiet. So did the Lederer Terminal building across the water. The waterfront, near where the Rock Hall stands today, became the police department’s Siberia, demoted police Capt. Ray Shillat’s exile. “We need a good man on the seagull detail,” snapped Cleveland safety director Al Sutton, who banished Shillat for his role in two scandals.

“Shillat Kept Bet Data to Self: Knew of Hidden Room at Gambling Joint,” declared a Cleveland Press headline in February 1951. The officer’s raids of a West Side social club had failed to turn up a crime, but more thorough cops found a betting room inside. Sutton reduced Shillat’s rank to lieutenant for neglect. Five months later, he sent him to patrol the pier as punishment for his role as a messenger in a job-buying scandal.

In December, Shillat was reassigned to patrol downtown stores for the Christmas shopping season. Months later, a judge ordered his rank restored with back pay, citing a lack of evidence. Shillat served 39 years as a cop, retiring in 1975.

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