Lee Causseaux: FSU’s First Chief of Police

Lee Causseaux's FSU Chief of Police badge
Lee Causseaux’s FSU Chief of Police badge. Badge courtesy of Patsy Yawn.

Born in 1900 in Woodville, FL, Lee Causseaux was the descendant of a long line of Leon County residents and spent his whole life serving the greater Tallahassee community. Considering FSCW and FSU his second home, “Mr. Lee” (as most people called him) occupied many positions on campus, ranging from laundry operations, Superintendent of Landscaping, and his eventual promotion to Chief of FSCW Police in 1945. His influence was felt outside of campus, too – he was often called on by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Culley’s Funeral Home for assistance.

 
Chief Declares Cops Guard Students, Florida Flambeau, October 16, 1956
Chief Declares Cops Guard Students, Florida Flambeau, October 16, 1956

Before taking his position as FSCW Chief of Police, Causseaux protected students from a pervasive threat: the sun. As the Superintendent of Landscaping, one of his major projects was transplanting live oak trees from the campus arboretum to various locations around campus and Tallahassee. Causseaux’s love of landscaping never faded after leaving the position, evident from the friendship he had with accomplished horticulturist and FSU’s first First Lady, Mrs. Edna Campbell. He helped her landscape  the President’s home after renovations, and she would often share plants with him for his new home.

Causseaux on Campus
Lee Causseaux on Campus. Photo courtesy of Patsy Yawn.

Causseaux’s law enforcement career started in 1932, when he was sworn in as a Leon County Deputy Sheriff and FSCW’s first day officer. In a 1956 Florida Flambeau article about the necessity of campus police, Causseaux remarked that when he started at the university in the early 1930s, there was only “one man, whose duties were chiefly those of a night watchman.” Throughout the 1930s, the FSCW police force grew to include 3 more officers, and by 1939, police uniforms had been issued. The department continued to grow during the 1940s, as the transition from FSCW to FSU saw an increased need for police. By the time of Causseaux’s death in 1959, the FSU Police Department employed nearly 20 officers. Lee Causseaux served as Chief of Police from 1945-1959.

Lee Causseaux and his Wife, Alma
Lee Causseaux and his Wife, Alma. Photo courtesy of Patsy Yawn.
Lee Causseaux had two children with his wife Alma, whom he married in 1923. Causseaux’s daugher, Patsy Yawn, describes her father as someone who “cared for all [his] employees,” saying that he considered “FSCW/FSU faculty and staff [as] his extended family.” On October 24, 1959, after seining for mullet out of the FSU Marine Laboratory, Causseaux complained of not feeling well and passed away on the shore.  Yawn proclaims that her father’s death on FSU soil was “a fitting exit for a man who loved, lived, and breathed for the school.”

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