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History of our Chiefs
Please direct comments, history information, or memorabilia to:
Stacey Woodward, Executive Assistant to Chief Bollinger/TPD Historian 1100 John Glenn Blvd Titusville, FL 32780
The following research is compiled from the City of Titusville Council Meeting Minutes, files, and people that knew the Chief(s) beginning in 1933.
Titusville Police Department Chiefs of Police
1920, A.J. Mefford
A.J. Mefford is the first Chief of Police for the City of Titusville that we have record of. Titusville’s population was 1,500 at this time and there were seven bars in town. Chief Mefford was our only source of law enforcement during these early years, and in 1929, the Chief’s salary was $125 per month. Chief Mefford used his own vehicle, a Model-T Ford for patrol. We did not have a building to house our police department in so the Chief mainly drove around Titusville and helped when needed. According to Mefford’s family who visited our department in the 1990’s, Chief Mefford served Titusville off and on for over twenty years. Chief Mefford appears in our City’s Council meeting minutes in 1941 when he once again is elected as Titusville’s Chief of Police. Although not confirmed, the initials A.J. may have stood for Archie Jean.
Note: There is a gap in history between 1920 and 1933 that we will continue to research to find out how long A.J. Mefford was Chief before Call Norwood was elected as Chief in 1933. Our history contributors have said that Chief Mefford and Chief Norwood would switch roles over the years. In 1923, the City of Titusville adopted an ordinance creating the Office of Chief of Police. The title of City Marshall was held from 1909 until this change to the title of Chief of Police took place. The adopted ordinance also established the Chief shall be elected by a majority vote of the Council each and every year beginning with the first Council meeting in November 1923. In 1933, a motion was carried that changed the Chief’s term of office to two years. Then in 1947, a bill was passed by Legislature changing the Chief’s elected position to an appointed position by the City Manager which is still in effect today.
December 12, 1933 – November 3, 1941
Call A. Norwood
In 1933, Call A. Norwood was elected and sequentially reelected to the position of Chief of Police in 1935, 1937, and 1939, serving a total of eight years. Chief Norwood was known to be a local and played on a baseball team in Titusville at one time. The Chief had an “Assistant Police” person and several “Special Police”, as they were called, to assist him with patrol and collecting license monies. The City furnished Chief Norwood with a uniform at the cost of $58 after he collected delinquent license monies to cover the cost. The Chief and the Special Police used their own vehicles to patrol the city. In 1937, the Chief received $20.00 per month to compensate him for the gas he used and he was paid a salary of $105.00 per month. The Chief and Assistant worked 12 hour shifts from 6 AM to 6PM and 6PM to 6AM. Two Assistants that worked with Norwood were B.C. Edwards and S.V. Cottrell.
November 4, 1941 – 1946
Upon becoming Chief once again on November 4, 1941, A.J. Mefford suggested S.V. Cottrell be appointed Assistant Police and former Chief Call Norwood was retained as a Special Police person. Chief Mefford is elected as Chief of Police again in 1943 and 1945, for a total of three terms served or five years. The city purchased one uniform for him in 1943and 1945 at a cost not to exceed $60. The Chief’s salary increased by 10% in 1944 and 1945 and he received an additional $10 for upkeep on his car. Also in 1944, Chief Mefford implemented and supervised Auxiliary Police. This was a group of nineteen officers that wore badges and enforced the law voluntarily, but only under the direct supervision of the Chief. This was the first time in our department’s history that Auxiliary Officers were used for extra patrol. We do not know for sure but it is believed that Chief Mefford left the area after 1947.
Former Chief's A.J. Medford and Call A. Norwood
Titusville happenings in the 1940’s
Titusville saw a large increase in the amount of construction in the 1940’s, in both residential and commercial building construction. There were more vehicles on the roads, even taxis, and this increased the amount of traffic signals we had and the amount of licenses due that the police would have to collect. The city sold some of its property during this time adding to an increase in revenue which is most likely why the Chief and all city employees received salary increases. Residential lots with a 40 foot frontage on a platted street sold for a price of $100, while 25 foot lots sold for $50!
Walter Jack “Bo” Bohannon
Although, W.T. Bohannon, a.k.a. “Bo”, did not hold the title of Chief of Police, he is a very important man in Titusville’s police department history and one we thought the world of.
At the end of Chief Mefford’s term in office in July 1946, Bo was working at an Amoco service station when he was approached by a Council Chairman who asked him if he was interested in becoming a police officer. Bo was not interested in the job, but agreed to accept the assignment for 30 days until they could find someone to replace him. Councilman Carpenter took Bo to the city council meeting a few nights later. He wore his coveralls to the council meeting because he went straight there from the service station. After they swore him in as a police officer, Bo said that he did not have a gun or a uniform. According to Bo’s wife Virginia, one of the Councilmen handed him his own gun that night, and said, here, now you do. He received a police uniform in 1948. Bo continued to work at the service station for 10 days after being sworn in before he dedicated his time solely to police work.
Bo knew when his services were needed when he saw the red light at the top of the pole on Main Street lit up. He would go to the phone on that pole and call into the switchboard operator that would notify him of who called. This was still the main form of communication other than word of mouth. Most of the calls were for excessive drinking or fighting. Bo said there was no stealing, breaking or entering back then.
Titusville had a make-shift jail that they made out of an old large water tank. It was painted and cleaned out and jail cells were installed within the tank. Before this, Titusville used Brevard County’s jail located behind our original courthouse or they transported prisoners to Orlando.
Our first police station was located at the corner Palm Avenue and Palmetto Street. The station was across the street from our original courthouse still standing today, and two lots down from where our first fire station was built. Before the station was built, the policemen utilized a room in city hall during the day and a room in the fire station was used at night to work out of.
Bo had one particular call that would forever scar him. He and a couple other officers transported three prisoners to the jail. Two men were locked up and as they proceeded to put the woman in the ward, she slammed open a cell door cutting his eye. He was rushed to Orlando Hospital and even after six hours of surgery, they were unable to save his eye.
Mr. Bohannon had a lot of “firsts” within the 28 years he was with the Titusville Police Department. He received the first “Police Officer” uniform, was promoted to the first Sergeant’s position (1959), the first Lieutenant’s position (1962), and the first Captain (1965). In 1967, Captain Bo, as most called him, was promoted to Assistant Chief. Bohannon also had the opportunity to act as Chief of Police twice during his career. He is credited with forming our department’s first Detective Division.
Before Bo came to Titusville in 1945, he spent five years during World War II working in boat building for the Maritime Commission. He married Virginia a month after he began police work in Titusville. They raised four children in Titusville, all of whom graduated from Titusville High School. Bo furthered his education while at the department, by taking classes at the F.B.I., Georgia Tech, Rollins College, and the University of Florida. He was also schooled in ethical hypnosis and fingerprint analogy.
He retired from our department exactly 28 years after his hire date on July 22, 1974. He and his lovely wife owned a photography business and were both avid airplane pilots. They took pictures of accident scenes for the department while Bo worked with us. After retirement they traveled and Bo enjoyed painting.
Captain Bo in front of old police station, Circa 1950
Winfred Tate “Dinky” Brown
In 1947, our city moved to a Council Manager form of Government whereby the City Manager had the authority to appoint a Chief of Police instead of the Chief being elected. W. T. “Dinky” Brown was our first appointed Chief of Police.
Chief Brown was born in 1914 in Matney, North Carolina. He attended Titusville Elementary School and graduated from Titusville High School in 1934. He attended numerous schools throughout his career in law enforcement including 12 F.B.I. schools and officer and training classes at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Chief Brown worked as a volunteer patrolman many years prior to becoming Chief. During his time with our police department we received our first police officer uniforms (1948), our first police car, a big black Ford (1949), our first police radio installed in the police car (1950), and moved into our first police station. Brown began his career with a salary of $175 per month working with Officer Bohannon and Officer John Threlkeld.
Dinky acted as Titusville’s Interim City Manager at least three different times while our city was looking for a new manager.
Chief Brown resigned on April 4, 1966 due to health problems but continued to work for the City of Titusville in the building department as a housing inspector. It is believed that Chief Brown retired to Georgia after leaving the city.
Winfred Tate "Dinky" Brown
Special Thanks To:
Ed Kindle, Titusville Historical Museum
Virginia Bohannon (Bo’s wife)
Mr. Bob Hudson (Titusville Historian)
Dr. Patricia Manning
Mr. Ander Hutcheson
Frank Ross (Former Titusville Chief of Police)
Anthony C. Bollinger (Former Titusville Chief of Police)