No one knows better the danger that a tense circumstance can present than police in the United States. Constantly under pressure to control people who are guaranteed rights that provide them a wide latitude of no control, the scenarios that citizens can present range from the mundane to sheer terror, even for a trained professional. With that thought, we continue to reflect on moments in the history of law enforcement we wish we could get back, the sacrifices of those that have paid the ultimate price on our behalf.
Shreveport is a town full of culture that has impacted locally, regionally, and nationally. It’s the center of what is known as the Ark-La-Tex region, where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet. The significance of this is that music, cuisine, art, and many other elements of US culture that are unique, have collided in this large city to form a patchwork quilt of sorts. Renowned blues artists Jesse Thomas, Dave Alexander, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd hail from Shreveport, along with jazz composers Bill Wray and William Christopher O’Hare. Shreveport has been a major hub for the oil industry for half of its existence, and that designation likely will never change. The city is currently rebuilding its port structures, which will only increase the city’s demand to oil companies and related project. Transportation has always been a key issue to Shreveport. Aside from major industry’s need for solid transportation in Shreveport for the effects on commerce, the city itself has had mass transit options almost from the start, and has constantly tried to find ways to update, and keep mass transit efficient. Unfortunately, in the effort to reach those efficiencies, there can be many unintended consequences. Our next officer was gravely affected by those consequences.
Patrolman Constantine Andreola
Patrolman Constantine Andreola was an Italian immigrant who came to the US in the 1860’s, and located to Mississippi, where he was conscripted into the Confederate States of America Infantry. After finishing the term, he was required to serve, he relocated his wife, who he met in Mississippi, to Louisiana, at the ripe age of 58, began serving in the Shreveport Police Department. On January 14th, 1908, Patrolman Andreola was handling a transport call, on his way to the hospital to pick up a woman for transfer to the Caddo Parish Jail. By the 1890’s, the street cars and trolleys in Shreveport were electric, and ran at higher speeds than their predecessors, mule-drawn cars. Patrolman Andreola approached Crockett Street at Texas Avenue, a major intersection in Shreveport. At the same time, a street car was making its way from Texas Avenue, onto Crockett Street. Due to the limits of the history that can be found covering the incident, it’s unknown how exactly, but both vehicles collided, with Patrolman Andreola’s patrol vehicle taken the brunt of the force, and subsequently, and sustained major injuries. Patrolman Andreola was in a hospital for 30 days, when on February 13th, 1908 he succumbed to his injuries, having served 14 years on behalf of the citizens of Shreveport.
Patrolman Andreola’s life in US was likely not what he bargained for. In 1873, he lost three of his 12 children to the yellow fever epidemic that hit Northern Louisiana hard. His wife, Susan, passed away on February 11, 1917, she herself previously survived a train accident in 1887, which cost her to ability to work as a dressmaker, which had been her career prior to the incident. By 1910, US Census records indicate that of the entire Andreola family, only five children were living by that year, which must have tortured Susan terribly. In 1995 there was a memorial service held for officers who died in the line of duty, as such efforts had not previously occurred in Louisiana. At the time, there were three family members of Patrolman Andreola came to the event in his honor. The family members were not named, and this is the last known public effort made on Patrolman Andreola’s life and service until his name was added to the Louisiana Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, which was dedicated on May 1st, 2002. Patrolman Andreola’s story is full of quirks, and speaks to serious tragedy visited on the US, and consequently it’s law enforcement officers. Patrolman Andreola died as one of the oldest serving officers in the country, and he has been surpassed since this time, but not by much, and by very, very few.
In memory of Patrolman Constantine Andreola.