Gastonia Police Department

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Gastonia Police Department
Gastonia Police.jpg
Logo of the Gastonia Police Department.
Motto Protect, Serve and Enhance the Quality of Life for All
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Legal jurisdiction Municipal
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Gastonia, North Carolina
Sworn members 180
Agency executive Stacy Conley, Chief of Police
Boats 1
Official website

The Gastonia Police Department is the police department of the City of Gastonia, North Carolina. With 176 officers and 38 civilian staff (full and part time), Gastonia PD serves a city with a population of about 70,000 people.


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.

Early 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.

The 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.

Two-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.[1]

Special units[edit]

Beyond patrol functions, the Gastonia Police Department provides the following services:[2]

  • Full time units:
    • K-9s
    • Street Crimes
    • Citizens On Patrol
  • Special Situations Unit (duties in addition to patrol)
    • SWAT Team
    • Bomb Squad
    • Underwater Search and Recovery (USAR) Team
    • Hostage Negotiators
    • Snipers

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Gastonia Police Department, six officers have died in the line of duty.[3]

Officer Date of Death Details
Chief of Police Orville Frank Aderholt
Friday, June 7, 1929
Patrolman John Hazel Smith
Sunday, September 5, 1937
Vehicular assault
Patrolman S. C. (Preacher) McKenzie
Wednesday, August 13, 1941
Automobile accident
Patrolman Bryant Kirn Birt
Saturday, July 29, 1944
Automobile accident
Patrolman Charlie Vestel Murphy
Tuesday, August 1, 1944
Heart attack
Patrolman James Edward (Red) English
Thursday, November 11, 1948

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gastonia Police History page
  2. ^ Gastonia Police Teams page
  3. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page

External links[edit]