Mark Chalvien, a Long Beach police officer who rose from patrolman to commissioner in a career that spanned nearly 23 years, has died. He was 86.
Chalvien, who died of heart failure on Jan. 24, also served stateside in the Navy during World War II. He is remembered by police department colleagues and family for helping to build the Long Beach Police Department's shooting range.
Chalvien, who moved to Long Beach from Brooklyn with family when he was about 2, was an avid hunter and marksman and founding member of the Long Beach Pistol Club. It's fitting that the gun range is part of his legacy, said his nephew Michael Doyle.
"He used to love duck hunting when he was a kid, in the bay, because when they moved there, it was wilderness," Doyle said. "He loved shooting."
Chalvien served as acting Long Beach police commissioner from October 1977 to January 1978, department records state. He joined the department as a patrolman in 1956 and became sergeant in 1965, records show.
He became a lieutenant after his tenure as acting commissioner ended, and retired in 1979, said Michael Tangney, the current police commissioner, who served with Chalvien in the 1970s.
Tangney said Chalvien trained him in firearm use, in an era when the police department used revolvers. Tangney said he knows how to "load, aim, shoot, and reload" because of Chalvien.
"He was one of those spit-and-polish guys, very meticulous, carried himself very professionally," Tangney said. "Emblematic of what a cop should be."
Chalvien worked for the Long Island Rail Road as a laborer for about 10 years, after World War II and before joining the police department. For a time, his job was shoveling coal into a steam engine boiler to power the train, Doyle said.
It was the kind of work that defined him, family members said in a statement.
"Mark Chalvien will always be remembered as an American of the Greatest Generation who built our country with the sweat of his brow and blood of his hands," the statement read.
Chalvien moved to Island Park later in life and was living there at the time of his death.
In retirement, he enjoyed carpentry and hunting for white-tailed deer, and owned a farm in upstate Bath, where he'd farm oats and buckwheat, Doyle said.
Chalvien is survived by his wife, Rita. A public viewing is scheduled for today from noon to 4 p.m. at Vanella's Funeral Chapel, 2860 S. Long Beach Rd. in Oceanside. Family members said funeral and burial arrangements are not finalized.