Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Cavendish Portrays McGruff, The Crime Dog

St. Tammany Parish law enforcement officer Winston Cavendish portrayed McGruff, the Crime Dog, many times in the 1980's, helping local citizens "take a bite out of crime." He helped invent the character during a "brain storming" session at a law enforcement conference, and after the costume was decided upon, he put it on many times while promoting community safety programs, as well as providing the voice for the cartoon version of the character. 

Cavendish has traveled the world and made over 5000 appearances to promote crime prevention, an act as an approachable symbol of law enforcement, according to the Slidell Police Department Facebook page.

Cavendish was quite active in police department community relations work in the 1970's and 1980's, first with the Mandeville Police Department and then with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.  

Here are a few photographs of Cavendish (as McGruff) with Covington Police Chief Al Strain (left) and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Pat Canulette (right, holding child) in the early 1980's, as well as with President Ronald Reagan. 

McGruff (aka Cavendish) with President Ronald Reagan

From left, Eddie Deano, Winston Cavendish, Robert Livingston

Cavendish and friend in 2016
Photo source: St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Facebook Page 

An article from January, 1984 

Dr. Les Landon, a Covington veterinarian, took part in the McGruff legacy by giving McGruff "shots" every year. He and Cavendish took pictures with the small McGruff version, and also with the full-size McGruff costume. 

Cavendish in Madisonville

Cavendish, McGruff, and Fritzi Martin

Cavendish with McGruff postage stamp
In late September of 1984 the McGruff stamp was issued by the U.S. Post Office to commemorate Crime Prevention Month in the United States. It spotlighted McGruff, the Crime Dog, who was becoming more than a cartoon character with a serious purpose. He was an icon.