1956-1974

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The Administration of Chief Paul B. Calhoun

Following the retirement of Chief Williamson, Inspector Paul B. Calhoun was appointed as the 14th Chief of the Greensboro Police Department. Chief Calhoun's administration was the most enduring in the Department's history, lasting over 18 years.
When Chief Calhoun took office, traffic, scout car and walking beats were manned on three shifts. Officers worked on permanent shifts assigned by seniority. They worked six days on-duty and got one day off each week. Pay raises were generally automatic every three years.

Annexation Challenges

Chief Calhoun's first major challenge occurred in 1957 following a massive annexation. The size of the city increased from 21 to 49 square miles. The population jumped to more than twice its former size, reaching 122,000 citizens. The Department had 38 police vehicles and, in 1958, employed 186 sworn police officers and 16 non-sworn employees. The recruit school of 1958 covered 62 police subjects in 132 hours of instruction. Traffic radar had been in use for several years and for the first time the Department's annual budget exceeded $1,000,000.

By 1960, the city's population had reached 131,711 and its area had grown to 52 square miles. In that same year, the Underwater Recovery Team was formed. The initial team was made up of six officers who volunteered their services to the team in addition to their regular duties. Bloodhound tracking services were provided to the Department by Bill McCormick.

Greater Accountability

The honor of the Department was tarnished in 1960 with the discovery of a burglary ring within the Department. As a result of an extensive investigation, two lieutenants and one sergeant were indicted for breaking, entering, and larceny in connection with safe burglaries. Following the discovery of the burglary ring, the Department took steps to guard against future possibilities. A reorganization took place in the Patrol Division to provide greater supervision. Officers were required to keep a more detailed account of their activities and new procedures were established concerning the entry of businesses that were closed. The attitude of the Department and the manner in which the investigation and prosecution were handled helped to regain the confidence of the community.

By 1962, the Department's authorized strength had reached 282. This included 218 sworn officers with the remainder being non-sworn employees and school crossing guards.

Civil Rights

Greensboro mirrored many of the social and political changes that occurred nationwide in the 1960s. These included a heightened sensitivity towards civil rights. On February 1, 1960, four young NC A&T State University students helped bring national attention to the issue of integration by staging a peaceful sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter in downtown Greensboro. In 1963, peaceful, large-scale civil rights demonstrations were held in the city. Professional conduct by individual officers, coupled with an on-going dialog between police administrators and civil rights leaders, did much to ensure that these police/community contacts were not marred by violence.

Unfortunately, the decade did not close on a peaceful note. On the morning of March 12, 1969, a group of cafeteria workers at A&T State University staged a peaceful sit-in to protest their low wages and other working conditions. The next night, A&T students held a rally on campus in support of the cafeteria workers. The rally ended around 9:30 pm. After the rally, a group came off the campus. Rocks and bottles were thrown at passing cars and police were called. Upon their arrival, officers were met with a barrage of bottles and bricks, and tear gas was subsequently used to disperse the crowd. Several hours later, in the early morning hours of Friday, March 14, police units received sniper fire from the campus. Police returned fire and two persons were hit in the crossfire, which ended around 2 am.

In May 1969, further unrest arose following student body elections at Dudley High School. Over a period of several weeks, tension ran high and several confrontations occurred. On May 21, 1969, a violent crowd confrontation took place on Dudley's campus. Fearing that further violence was imminent, the Mayor requested National Guard assistance. As night fell, violence near the A&T campus escalated. Around midnight, police and Guardsmen began receiving sniper fire, which lasted for several hours. One civilian death was reported that night.

The next day, May 22, the University's President announced that classes had been suspended and the campus closed, and the Mayor announced a curfew. Another night of violence and shooting ensued, resulting in the wounding of one civilian and four officers. Tensions had eased by late Friday, May 23, and the curfew was lifted the next day.

In an effort to improve its community support following these disturbances, Chief Calhoun formed a Community Relations Office. Subsequently, a new position of Community Relations Director was established reporting directly to the Chief of Police.

First Female Officer

In August 1972, Anne Garcia requested a transfer from her position as a "meter maid" to the uniformed patrol division. Following approval by Chief Calhoun, Officer Garcia became the Department's first female patrol officer on November 1, 1972.

The Police Department moved into the new Municipal Office Building in December of 1972, although the building was not officially dedicated until June 1, 1973. The move was a welcome relief for everyone in the Department, especially the patrol officers, who had been holding line-ups for several years at remote facilities, including the Patton Avenue Service Center and "Unit 9," an old building at the corner of Lee and Fulton Streets.

Killed in the Line of Duty

On May 31, 1959 at 1:27 am, Corporal Joe R. Massey was shot to death while sitting at a table inside Foust Service Station on East Market Street while filling out reports and preparing to end his tour of duty. Earlier in his shift, Cpl. Massey had given Joseph Daniel Herring Jr. a ticket for obstructing traffic. Herring had gone home, gotten his pistol, and returned looking for Massey. Massey looked up just as Herring started firing. Herring emptied the pistol, hitting Massey five times in the chest. Massey became the fourth Greensboro officer to die in the line of duty.

On May 12, 1962, the Greensboro Police Department lost a fifth officer to violent death. At 7:05 pm, Officer Edward Ford stopped a vehicle driven by Thomas Woodrow Dixon at Elm and Burtner Streets. Officer Ford placed Dixon under arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and took Dixon to the jail. While there, Dixon grabbed Ford's revolver and began firing point-blank. Officer Ford was taken to Moses Cone Hospital, where he died several days later as a result of his wounds.

At 3:30 am on August 15, 1970, Officer Joseph Gibbs Cooper and his Reserve Officer partner attempted to get into position to assist other patrol units involved in a vehicle chase. While attempting to pass another police car on Lee Street near Elm Street, their vehicle went out of control and wrecked. Officer Cooper was admitted to the hospital with serious injuries. He developed pneumonia and died on August 23, 1970. He was the sixth Greensboro officer to die in the line of duty.

On February 14, 1974, a seventh Greensboro Police Officer was killed in the line of duty. Shortly after 10 pm, Officer Arthur Glenn Craft and his Reserve Officer partner were dispatched to the 1700 block of Dillon Road to investigate a report of a man hollering and carrying a shotgun. The two officers walked toward a small wooded area to investigate, unaware that Henry Oliver McQueen was lying in ambush for them. McQueen took aim, and from a distance of about 20 feet, he fired, striking Officer Craft in the face and chest. Officer Craft was taken to Moses Cone Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Chief Calhoun's retired on December 15,1974. Lieutenant Colonel Walter A. Burch served as Acting Chief of Police pending the selection of a new Chief.