1921-1930

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The Administration of Chief G.P. Crutchfield

Following the resignation of Chief Isley, George P. Crutchfield assumed the duties of Chief of Police on July 27, 1921. He was the Department's 10th Chief. At the time Chief Crutchfield assumed command, the Greensboro Police Force included 23 sworn officers and two automobiles. Greensboro officers had begun handling traffic duties, and the position of Desk Sergeant had been established.

On March 15, 1923, annexation increased the city's land area to almost 18 square miles, and its population from 25,000 to 40,000. By the end of that year, 45 officers were employed by the Department. Patrolmen fell into one of two pay grades, earning either $115 or $125 per month. Chief Crutchfield's monthly salary was $225.

A new City Hall was erected in 1924 on the northeast corner of Greene Street and Friendly Avenue. This building housed the offices of the Greensboro Police Department and had a small jail located on the top floor. In mid 1924, tragedy struck for the third time in as many years. At approximately 10 am on June 15, 1924, Officer Elmer E. Honeycutt and Officer Jennings entered a wooded area off High Point Road looking for a prowler who had been seen in the area. They did not know that John Davis had just burglarized several homes in the area and had fled into the woods. As Officer Honeycutt came upon Davis lying on the ground, Davis shot and killed the officer from close range.

Reorganization

Around 1925, Chief Crutchfield reorganized the Department. Out of the 52 men employed as sworn officers, 40 made up the uniformed patrol division. Four officers held administrative positions and a plainclothes unit consisting of eight men was formed. This plainclothes unit would later evolve into the Criminal Investigation Division.

Chief Crutchfield continued to make progress with the organization of the Department. He set up the Identification Bureau, which was the predecessor of the current Central Records and Laboratory Sections. He also set up a motorcycle squad and a Traffic Division. He was instrumental in the installation of the call-box system to facilitate better communications for police officers.

By 1926, the population of Greensboro had risen to an estimated 48,500. The following year, the Department acquired two more automobiles, bringing the fleet total to four. Then-rookie officer Tom Trulove remembered what it was like to be a Greensboro officer in the mid-1920's. He recalled, "A man younger than his 30's was generally not considered mature enough to handle the problems of police work. The traffic problem was so minor that the officer assigned to the beat could handle anything that came up; nobody ever heard of parking tickets. Three cars worked on the outside; one at the station, one for detectives and one as a scout car. Promotion was based on seniority alone."

During the middle of January 1930, there appears to have been a very strong disagreement between Chief Crutchfield and the City Council. After Chief Crutchfield refused to submit his resignation when so requested by the Council, he was terminated on January 29, 1930.