Several weeks ago we asked folks to loan us their memories of life in Chagrin Falls. They were to be quirky, funny, touching little stories of around 200 words. We named the feature “Only in Chagrin Falls.”

Full disclosure, we got the idea from the Metropolitan Journal column which runs each week in the New York Times.

But that is beside the point. Please enjoy the following “Only in Chagrin Falls” offerings by generous contributors Jay Murtaugh, retired Chagrin Falls police officer and Alec Singer, retired owner of the fabled Rick’s Café .


Only in Chagrin Falls – Growing up in Chagrin Falls, I was one of those kids who hung around Baskin-Robbins in the shopping plaza until I was told to leave the area by the Chagrin Falls police. 

I returned to Chagrin Falls after doing a stint for Uncle Sam.  It is then that I decided to follow my father and grandfather’s footsteps and become a police officer.  On March 12, 1973 the dream came true when I was hired by the Cleveland Police Department. 

I worked there for 26 years, mostly in the SWAT unit.  My assignments included guarding United States Presidents, resolving hostage situations and taking part in narcotics raids. I retired on April 4, 1999. 

Like everyone from Chagrin Falls, I returned for the annual Blossom Time  in May of 1999 where I was approached by police Chief Jim Brosius who offered me a job with the Chagrin Falls Police Department, which I gladly accepted.

Well, one of my first  assignments was to assist ducklings across Bell Street.  I was uncertain if I needed to use my lights and siren like on Cleveland calls, but I made certain they crossed safely. 

On one winter morning I received a complaint from a citizen regarding a trespasser.  Upon arrival at the scene, I was met by the homeowner who asked whether I had caught the perpetrator then pointed to the freshly fallen snow in her yard that had been disturbed by children playing in it. 

She was upset that they had ruined her pristine snowfall. I reassured her that she will get special attention to her property all day. 

You just can’t make these stories up, folks. 

The most difficult part of working with the Chagrin Falls Police Department was getting used to people waiving at me with all five fingers, unlike some of the Cleveland residents.

I worked with the Chagrin Falls Police Department for 18 years. It was fun and I enjoyed my time there. The CFPD is an excellent police department and their officers are top grade.

By the way, I always carried a bullet in my shirt pocket just in case I needed it! ~ Jay Murtaugh


Only in Chagrin Falls – In the winter of 1975, I was setting up our new restaurant, Rick’s Café, with one of the original partners who was waiting for his 1 p.m. appointment with the village’s building inspector to look at our space. My partner was handling things like permits so he had scheduled the meeting.

At 12:45 p.m., his wife called and said she had rushed their dog to the animal hospital and asked him to come please and meet them there.

As he was dashing out the door, he turned to me and said you are going to have to meet with the building inspector. I asked “OK, how much do I give him, you know, $50 or $100?”

He said “What are you talking about?” I said, “The bribe, greasing his palm, you know.” He said, “What are you crazy? We don’t do that here.” ~ Alec Singer

NOTE: We invite you to tell us your “Only in Chagrin Falls” memories of about 200 words each and send them to

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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