Historical Information

Gastonia's first policeman and Chief when Gastonia incorporated in 1877 was Oliver W. Davis, a beard-wearing, billy-swinging constable who owned most of the land that Gastonia is situated on today.

Chief Oliver DavisEarly day policeman duties: administering the law, collecting the town's taxes, official cotton weigher and street overseer, lighting street lamps each night and extinguishing them the next morning.

Chief O.F. Aderholt copyThe highest policeman salary in the years between 1877 and 1900 was $30 a month. Local law enforcement took great strides forward in 1899. I.N. Alexander, the Police Chief, was given a room in the Town Hall for his office and a telephone was installed.

In 1920 Chief J.E. Orr was paid $175 a month and patrolmen were paid $135 a month. Two motorcycles were purchased by the City for the Police Department in 1920.

A 1921 Dodge Touring car was purchased by the City for the Police Department in 1921. A.B. Hord was the daytime driver and Robert L. Rhyne, a fireman & assistant policeman, was the nighttime driver.

The first Gastonia Police Officer to lose his life in the performance of duty was Chief O.F. Aderholt in 1929 during the Loray Mill Strike. Three city policemen: Tom Gilbert, Arthur Roach and C.M. Ferguson, Sr., were wounded by gunfire but later recovered.

First Radio CarTwo-way radios were installed in patrol cars in 1938 for the first time.

On April 1, 1946, Gastonia Police Officers were granted, for the first time, one day off each week. Working hours were reduced from 56 to 48 per week. E.E. Rankin, Desk Sergeant, was the first Gastonia Police Officer to attend the F.B.I. Police Academy in Washington D.C. from April 8-June 8, 1946.







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