fulton county police history:

On July 13, 2007, Deputy Chief Cassadra Jones was sworn in as Interim Chief of Police by Judge Susan Forsling, Fulton County State Court.  Chief Jones was appointed Chief of Police on October 9, 2007. Chief Jones has achieved many firsts in her career. Starting with her promotion to Sergeant in 1982, she was the first female promoted to that rank, followed by being the first female Lieutenant, first female Captain and first female promoted to Major. Last but not least, she is the first and only female to hold the rank of Deputy Chief and Chief, in the history of the Fulton County Police Department.

July 1, 2000 marked 25 years for the new Fulton County Police Department and 100 years of law enforcement history. With the 1996 Olympics under our belts, the Fulton County Police Department provided law enforcement duties on an international level. This was no small undertaking but, as history has proven, the Fulton County Police Department again rose to the occasion.  The new millennium presented never-before-encountered challenges which were handled professionally by the department.

On November 12, 1999, Chief Graham retired with over 35 years of dedicated law enforcement leaving the department in the capable hands of his handpicked successor, Deputy Chief George M. Coleman. As Chief Coleman takes the department into the 21st century we are sure to become even more technologically advanced, better staffed, and greater servants to the citizens and other governmental agencies we serve.

Assistant Chief Louis Graham, the first African-American hired by the young Fulton police force, would become its first black Police Chief on January 4, 1991 when Chief Chafin again retired after completing 43 years of law enforcement service. Louis Graham started his police career with the City of Atlanta Police Department in 1965 and became commander of its Homicide Division in 1972. This marked the first time a black police officer was placed in charge of a major unit or division within the Atlanta Police force.

L.O. Chester was named Chief of the newly organized department and served until 1979, when retired Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Clinton Chafin took command. From 1979 to 1991 Chief Chafin succeeded in establishing the Fulton County Police Department as one of the most respected and competent police forces in the country. The Fulton County Police Department became nationally accredited by the Commission On Law Enforcement Accreditation in 1987. The department would become the third in the State of Georgia, and the 47th in the nation, to obtain this much sought after status.

In early 1975, after much debate and political consideration, the Fulton County Commissioners decided the citizens of unincorporated Fulton County would be better served by a police department under their control. On July 1, 1975, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners created a police department with the help of then retired Atlanta Police Chief Herbert T. Jenkins and 102 Atlanta police officers who decided not to remain with the Atlanta force.

City of Atlanta Police Captain Herbert T. Jenkins replaced Mitchell in 1947 and became Chief for a period of only three weeks. Jenkins returned to the Atlanta Force as their Chief when Atlanta Chief Marion Hornsby died suddenly. Fulton County officials filled the vacant Chief’s position with Neal Ellis who served until January 1, 1952. On January 1, 1952, the "Plan of Improvement" was set into operation and the Fulton County Police Department was abolished along with the Fire Department, Garbage Department, Building Inspections Department, and 39 schools. The "Plan of Improvement" called for these county services to become a part of the City of Atlanta Government. Fulton County police officers could exercise one of four options: join the Atlanta Police Department; retire; take another job within county government; or terminate their employment. One hundred fifty-nine officers chose to continue their law enforcement careers as Atlanta Police Officers. For the next 23¼ years the county commissioners would contract police services with the City of Atlanta. What was a stand-alone police department would now become a division of the Atlanta Police Department.

In November of 1944 Charles Hugh Millians was appointed Chief after Chief Mathieson retired with 44 years of service. When Millians died of cancer in 1945, Assistant Chief Clarence E. Mitchell was elected by the Board of Commissioners to command the police department, Chief Mitchell, whom officers affectionately nicknamed "Muley," would immediately begin working on a plan to completely reorganize the department. Chief Mitchell’s most important contribution was his establishment of a 24-hour scientific crime lab for Fulton County. Fulton County would later turn this service over to the State of Georgia, evolving into what we know today as the State Crime Lab.

When Chief Rowan became ill in early 1914, George Mathieson, one of the original roads and bridges inspectors, became the Chief.
For the next 30 years Chief Mathieson would guide the department from horses and motorized bicycles to powerful automobiles and the scientific crime scene methods of the middle 40’s. From 1900 to the early 1940’s the Police Department grew from 13 officers to just under 100, while the City of Atlanta Police Force had grown to nearly 400 officers.

On February 4, 1900, the Fulton County Commission organized a small unit of peace officers and named them the Inspectors of Roads and Bridges. Their Chief was Mr. Allison O. Turner. These 13 Officers received their arrest powers through the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and patrolled the unincorporated areas of Fulton County, paying special attention to those areas just outside the Atlanta city limits.

On December 20, 1853, Fulton County was created out of portions of Cherokee, Coweta, Fayette, Gwinnett, and Henry counties. This new County Government would provide law enforcement through the newly created Sheriff’s Department for the next 46 years.