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The Administration of Chief Jeter L. Williamson

On November 1, 1951, Jeter L. Williamson was sworn in as the 13th Chief of the Greensboro Police Department. Over the next four years, Chief Williamson set in place innovative and modern concepts. Because of his emphasis on coordination and long-range planning, many of his programs remain a part of the Department more than 35 years later.

Early in his tenure, Chief Williamson directed that the Uniformed Division begin operating a cruising "paddy wagon" to transport prisoners for walking-beat officers. The Uniformed Division was divided into two platoons, and the City was divided between them on a north-south basis. Each platoon covered eight beats, and the beat officer was required to call in every hour from a call-box.

In 1952, Chief Williamson organized the Department into five divisions: Uniformed, Traffic, Detective, Records and Communications, and Personnel and Training. The Personnel and Training Division was a newly created unit and reflected Chief Williamson's commitment to a rigorous selection and training program. In addition, he established the Department's first squad of Vice Investigators. That year also saw the introduction of blood testing to determine an impaired driver's blood/alcohol level; the completion of the Department's firearms range; and the adoption of a new promotional system.

New Uniforms

By 1953, the traditional dark blue, brass-buttoned uniform had been replaced with a two-tone blue uniform. This uniform, although it would undergo several modifications throughout the years, was worn until 1976. This change appeared to give the Department a morale boost. The first Police Department Annual Report was published, detailing 1952's accomplishments. This document represented a new attitude of greater communication between the Department and the community.

In 1953, an intensified firearms training program showed its value when 30 percent of the revolvers carried by officers were found to be defective. Other innovations in 1953 included the first issue of a Departmental Training Bulletin and the formation of a Departmental Pistol Team. The Auxiliary Police Unit was formed, which later evolved into the present-day Police Reserve Corps.

On January 7, 1954, Chief Williamson announced the organization of the first Juvenile Division in the state. Continuing to develop the Department's organization, Chief Williamson created the Department's first modern bureaus in 1954: the Operations and Staff Bureaus.

Cadet Program

Also in 1954, the Greensboro Police Cadet program began. Young men between the ages of 18 and 20 could enroll in the program and become sworn probationary Police Officers upon reaching their 21st birthday. The Cadet program was continued until the late 1970s.

By the end of 1954, the Greensboro Police Department had increased to 120 sworn officers, 23 vehicles and seven motorcycles. By the end of the following year, Chief Williamson's leadership had resulted in the enlargement of the Police Library, the hiring of a Taxi Inspector, a property control system and an improved promotional process. Chief Williamson retired on June 1, 1956.

Although he had served less than five years, Chief Williamson implemented many new programs and ideas that have had lasting value. He brought the Department a long step toward the goals set by Chief Jarvis several years before.