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Previous Chiefs
Served    Chief's Name
1919-1922    A.R. Perry
1922-1923   L.W. Fennell
1923-1925   Charles Pinkoson
1925-1926   Joseph Dewey Dixon
1926-1926    Carl Stengel (Interim Chief)
1926-1927    H.T. Daniel
1927-1927    L.E. Storey
1928-1928    W.T. Cooper
1928-1932   Edward D. Vestel
1932-1934   R.A. Berga
1934-1936   Charles Pinkoson
1936-1937   W.B. Cahoon
1937-1942   James B. Clements
1942-1947   William D. Joiner
1947-1950   Rupert G. Zeigler
1950-1972   William D. Joiner
1972-1978   Nolen W. Freeman
1978-1980   Courtnay A. Roberts
1980-1980   Joe Bason (Interim Chief)
1980-1984    Atkins W. Warren
1985-1985   Larry Gabbard (Interim Chief)
1985-1996   Wayland Clifton, Jr.
1996-1997   Tony Jones (Interim Chief)
1997-1999   Donald L. Shinnamon, Sr.
1999-1999   Daryl H. Johnston (Interim Chief)
1999-2009   Norman B. Botsford
2009-Present   Tony Jones

A.R. Perry
1919-1922
In 1919, A.R. Perry served one term as Chief of Police.  In April of 1923, Perry purchased the Ideal Café from J.L. Reins, located on the corner of East Main and Masonic Streets (SW 2nd Ave).  At this time, the population of Gainesville was a little over 6800 people.

Lewis W. Fennell
1922-1923
Fennell was born in 1854 and was a orange grower from Melrose.   In 1892 Fennell was elected Sheriff of Alachua County, he held this position for several years.  Fennell was then elected to the position of Chief of Police of Gainesville for the year 1922. In 1937 Fennell, 82, died at his home at 905 East Main Street.

Charles Pinkoson
1923-1925, 1934-1936
Town Marshal: 1905-1908, 1911-1918, Chief of Police 1922-1925, 1934-1936. Pinkoson was born here August 25th, 1875, and was a life-long resident of Gainesville. Pinkoson married local resident Lula Perry on April 30th, 1913. After serving a few years as a policeman prior to 1900 Pinkoson assumed command of the local two- man department in 1905 and served as City Marshal of Gainesville until 1907. In 1907 Pinkoson was employed by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as Captain of Police and served until 1911 when he returned to Gainesville to head the Police Department until 1918. Pinkoson again returned to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, and worked there until 1922. In 1922 Pinkoson returned to Gainesville as Chief until 1925 during this time Pinkoson was making a salary of $200.00 a month and a dollar for every arrest. In 1925 he was elected Sheriff of Alachua County and served as such until 1929. Pinkoson retired to farm in 1929, but would be coaxed out of retirement on October 15, 1932 to replace Chief R.A. Berga who resigned to accept an appointment as a federal probation officer with the United States Department of Justice. Pinkoson served until 1936 when he retired again. Pinkoson died suddenly of a heart attack at his home, 958 West University Avenue on November 4th, 1937, at the age of 62.

Joseph Dewey Dixon
1925-1926
A short time into his tenure an audit of the Departments books, in June of 1925, found shortages between the police court dockets and the reports made to the city comptroller. This prompted the creation of a police committee for the purpose of investigating the shortages and other complaints against the operations of the Police Department. Chief Dixon resigned on July 3, 1926 stating that he had not done anything illegal and had indeed paid for any differences in the accounts with his own money.  

Chief Dixon was exonerated on July 7th, 1926, by the City Comptroller Joseph Waugh who stated in a letter to Dixon, published in the Gainesville Sun that "the discrepancies shown were simply errors in reporting your (Dixon’s) dockets, mistaking figures for more or less than amounts shown on docket". The investigation found no criminal acts had occurred. Chief Dixon was replaced by motorcycle Officer Carl Stengel. 

Dixon was the father of Senator R. Earl Dixon a long time state legislator from Jacksonville.

Carl Stengel
1926-1926

Interim Chief Carl Stengel appointed a desk Sergeant position which was maintained on a 24 hour basis in the chamber of the City Council.

H.T. Daniel
1926-1927
Daniel came to Gainesville from Lakeland, Florida where he had worked as a Lakeland Police Officer before going to work for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Special Police for six years. The last two years with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Special Police, Daniel moved to Gainesville to work in their Gainesville District. Daniel was elected chief by the city council in a 4-3 majority over L. E. Storey who would later succeed him. Chief Daniel first order of business upon being hired was to oversee the City council order to create a Police station with a desk sergeant on duty at all times in the council chamber. The station consisted of "some equipment and a telephone". The station came as a result of an investigation by the City council police committee’s investigation into the Police department. The committee recommended that the Police Department report directly to the council body, be open 24 hours and keep the account books in order. Apparently there had been complaints as the Gainesville Sun reported a "near impossibility of citizen’s securing police when they are needed" as the department was not open at all times. There was also a concern over the keeping of the department’s accounting books for which poor record keeping for several years created the need for an investigation of the department. The new station also meant that all prisoners would be arraigned and held for trial or would be able to post bond immediately after arrest. Two men manned the day shift and one man worked the night shift. Daniel resigned as chief on September 1, 1927 and was succeeded by L.E. Storey. Upon leaving Daniel was presented with a silver ring bearing the inscription "HTD from Gainesville Police 9/1/27". L.E. Storey said "He (Daniel) is a square-shooter at all times."  Daniel denied rumors that he was going into business in Lakeland, Florida where his family lives.

L.E. Storey
1927-1927
Storey worked as a police officer for the Gainesville Police Department for ten years under 5 different chiefs. Storey was appointed Chief of Police on September 1, 1927 to finish out the term of Chief H.T. Daniel who had resigned in order to "take a rest". Five months later City Manager W. A. Ford replaced Storey with W. T. Cooper who was Storey’s second in command. Storey remained with the department as a Police Officer.

W.T. Cooper
1928-1928
March 2, 1928 Cooper was appointed at age 42 by City Manager W. A.Ford to replace L. E. Storey as Chief of Police. Cooper was Storey’s second in command. Cooper was married and had four children and resided at 409 East Main Street. Cooper started his career in 1909 in Athens, Georgia serving as a Police Officer for 5 years. Cooper then moved to Greensboro, North Carolina where he was Chief of Police for 4 years before coming to Gainesville. Cooper worked for the Gainesville Police Department for two years prior to being appointed as Chief. Chief Cooper began his term by overseeing a "General House-Cleaning". The Gainesville Sun reported on March 3, 1928 that "Some thirty bottles, jugs and demi-johns, containing a total of about 12 gallons of whiskey and moonshine liquor were dumped into the streets, while other trash was destroyed as the office underwent spring house-cleaning. On September 1, 1928, Chief Cooper was replaced with Edward Vestal by the City Manager W.A. Ford.

Edward D. Vestel
1928-1932
In 1928, Chief Edward D. Vestel, a former Army Captain, instituted the first uniform for the Gainesville Police Department. Chief Vestel also started the first filing system on all individuals arrested that continues today. That same year, the department had its first motorcycle patrol officer, C. E. Strickland. Chief Vestel resigned in July of 1932. Vestel was replaced by Dr. R.A. Berga and was appointed as Chief Deputy Sheriff of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office by Sheriff R. J. Wells. Vestel operated a private detective agency in Orlando, Florida prior to coming to Gainesville. At this time the population of Gainesville was a little over 10,450 residents.

R.A. Berga
1932-1934
Berga was Chief Deputy Sheriff of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office before becoming Chief of Police for the Gainesville Police Department on July 10th, 1932. Chief Berga replaced Edward Vestel who resigned as Chief and replaced Berga at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Berga originally worked for the Orlando Police Department graduated with a doctorate degree from Colvin College at Wichita, Kansas. Berga was hired as city detective with the Gainesville Police Department under Chief Vestal and was charged with organizing a finger print bureau for the city. The funds were not available to do this so Berga was transferred to the Sheriff’s office where he established one of the most modern and most complete fingerprint bureaus in the state. Additionally Berga was recognized as one of the most efficient criminal investigators and fingerprint identification experts in the south. As Chief, Berga began an "intensive campaign" against slot machines within the city limits, prohibited minors from frequenting pool halls and rigidly enforced the traffic laws.

In May of 1932 Berga was suspended by the City Manager W. A. Ford "pending the outcome of an investigation now being carried out by a committee of the city commission". The investigation arose over a "Kitty Fund" which the Police department maintained from a practice of collecting a fee of $5.00 for the withdrawal of warrants sworn out and charges to other counties for the arrest of "lawbreakers" from other jurisdictions caught in Gainesville. Berga was later reinstated and the "Kitty Fund" abolished with a more regulated fee collection system put into place. 

On October 13th, 1934 Berga established Gainesville police radio station W4XE which allowed the desk Sergeants to have radio contact with the "prowl" cars. The motorcycles and chiefs car would be given radio receivers a short time later. The transmissions were one way. Before this, officers in the field would have to check in at the department every 15 minutes to see if there was a call for service. The cost of the system was $508.00. The communication system was run by 5 University of Florida students with radiophone licenses and worked part-time for the city. Berga resigned as chief on October 15, 1934 to accept his appointment as a federal probation officer with the United States Department of Justice Northern District of Florida.

W.B. Cahoon
1936-1937
W. B. Cahoon was born in Marion, South Carolina and as a young boy moved to Melrose, Florida with his family. Cahoon enlisted in the First Florida Regiment and served in the Spanish-American war. Following the war Cahoon moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he became a patrol officer with the Jacksonville Police Department in 1901. Cahoon was promoted to detective in 1904 and later to chief of the Jacksonville Detective Bureau in 1914 where he stayed until 1922 when he transferred back to the Jacksonville Police Department as Assistant Chief of Police. In 1925 he resigned to become Sheriff of Duval County for a term of 4 years. On October 31, 1936 Cahoon became chief of Police for the Gainesville Police Department The department had grown to 10 Officers. Cahoon was married with four children. Cahoon died in October of 1965 at the age of 94 and was buried in Melrose, Florida. In 1935, under Chief W.B. Cahoon, the Gainesville Police Department built its first two-way radio transmitter.
James B. Clements
1937-1942
The population of the City Of Gainesville was 18,000 people. Clements held the rank of Lieutenant from 1932 until his promotion to Chief on October 19th, 1937. The big fire of 1938 occurred under Clements tenure and burned down most of the downtown buildings.  At this time the population of Gainesville was a little over 13,750 residents.

William D. Joiner
1942-1947, 1950-1972
In 1946, under Chief William D. Joiner, the Gainesville Police Department employed its first black police officer, Oscar Lewis. The Gainesville Police Department had been headquartered in a few rooms in the basement of the old city hall building until August of 1953 when the Department was moved into a new building at its present location of 721 NW 6th Street. Chief Joiner’s new "ultra modern" police building housed the police department, which had grown to a force of over 40 Officers, 6 patrol cars, 4 plain cars and 4 motorcycles, and included the jail with 5 cells, and the Municipal court. In 1957, a 24 hour, one man patrol car system was initiated by Chief Joiner. Chief Joiner has the distinction of having headed the Gainesville Police Department longer than any other Chief or Marshal. Chief Joiner served two separate terms as Chief for a total of 25 years.  

1950's to 1970's the population of Gainesville went from 26,800 to over 56,000 residents.  In 1950 the City of Gainesville changed the street names to numbers and dividing the city into four sections North West, North East, South West and South East.

Rupert G. Zeigler
1947-1950
In 1929, Zeigler was hired by Gainesville Police Department as a police officer.  He was promoted to lieutenant in 1942 by Chief W. Joiner.  In 1946 Zeigler was then promoted to captain.  This was the first time the rank of captain was used by the Gainesville Police Department.  Then in 1947 Zeigler was selected to become the chief of police, after Chief Joiner resigned.  In 1950 Zeigler requested a leave of absence to work with the FBI.  Joiner was called out of retirement until Zeigler could return. Joiner stayed with the Department as chief for the next 22 years.

Nolen W. Freeman
1972-1978
Freeman served with the Kentucky State Police as a sergeant, before becoming a police officer with the Lexington Kentucky Police Department. There he obtained the rank of Major with the Lexington Kentucky Police Department where he worked for 13 years.  

In 1972, Freeman was selected for the Chief's position at the Gainesville Police Department.  Chief Freeman was the first Chief of the City of Gainesville to hold a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice.

In 1978, Freeman returned to Lexington, Kentucky to accept the position of Chief of police of then newly consolidated Lexington/Fayette County Police Department.

Courtnay A. Roberts
1978-1980
Courtnay A. Roberts was born in St. Petersburg, FL on April 29, 1926.  He grew up in Brooksville, FL and attended St. Leo Prep School.  In 1943 he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps where he served as an Emerson nose gunner on B-24’s during World War II.  Chief Roberts served in the Pacific Theatre during the war where he received a Purple Heart during his service.  Roberts received an honorable discharge in 1946, but remained in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1958.

Roberts came to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida and graduated with his BS degree in 1950.  He joined the Gainesville Police Department on May 7, 1951.  Roberts advanced through the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, captain and held many different positions within the department, including the Motor Unit, K-9 and Training.

In 1966 Roberts was sent to the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico, VA where he graduated and was retained as a Guest Instructor.  Roberts was well renowned for his martial arts and shooting abilities.  He served as an instructor in both disciplines and has over 28 Florida State Pistol Championship Titles.

Courtnay Roberts was appointed to Chief of Police on July 1, 1976.  Chief Roberts retired in 1980 after nearly 30 years of service.  Chief Roberts dedicated his life to serving the Gainesville community and continues to do so as an Outreach Pastor for Victory Church.

Chief Roberts is married to his wife Barbara and has 4 children: Larry, Joy, Ian and Courtnay Jr.  Courtnay Roberts Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and is currently employed by GPD.

Joe Bason
1980-1980
In 1957, Joe Bason started working for the Gainesville Police Department. In 1979, Bason was the Commander of Patrol, Detectives, Crime Prevention and Assistant Chief for Chief Courtnay Roberts. Bason was selected to be Gainesville Police Department's Interim Chief after Chief Courtnay Roberts announced he was going to run for Sheriff in Alachua County. Bason retired from Gainesville Police Department in 1984.

Atkins W. Warren
1980-1984
In 1980, Chief Atkins Warren became the first African-American Chief of the Gainesville Police Department. Chief Warren oversaw the renovation and expansion of the police station and construction of the property storage building in 1983. Warren retired in 1984.

Larry Gabbard
1985-1985
In 1972, Larry Gabbard joined the Gainesville Police Department.  In 1985, Gabbard became the Interim Chief after Chief Warren retired.  Gabbard filled the Chief's position until Chief Wayland Clifton was selected to become Gainesville's new Chief. Gabbard retired in 1988, after 16 years of service.

Wayland Clifton, Jr
1985-1996
In 1985, Chief Wayland Clifton, Jr. initiated Community Oriented Policing in the City of Gainesville. The COP program places Police substations in high crime neighborhoods and combines the resources of the Police Department with those of other social service agencies to work one on one with the citizens of the neighborhood in an effort to rid the area of crime. Chief Clifton combined the Police and Fire Rescue dispatch operations under one Communications center, at the Gainesville Police Department,. This effort decreased the response times of 911 emergency calls.  Under Chief Clifton, the Gainesville Police Department had now grown to 240 sworn officers, 180 patrol vehicles, 50 plain vehicles, 4 crime scene vehicles, 10 motorcycles, and 1 helicopter.

Tony Jones
1997-1998
Captain Jones joined the Gainesville Police Department in 1975. In August 1986 he was promoted to Corporal, and began working as a Crime Preventions Supervisor. In March 1987, he was promoted to Sergeant and began working as a road supervisor in the Operations Bureau. During this period, he supervised the first Community Oriented Police Teams (COPS) in Gainesville. He was promoted to lieutenant in November 1988, and was the commander of both the Crime Prevention Unit and the Community Oriented Police teams (COPS). In February 1992, he was promoted to Captain of the Neighborhood Services Bureau. His responsibilities included an expanded COPS Team, Crime Prevention Unit and the School Resource Officers program. On April 30, 1997, Captain Jones was appointed Interim Chief of the Gainesville Police Department where he maintained this position for one year until a permanent Chief was selected. He presently serves as Commander of the Neighborhood Service Bureau which encompasses Crime Prevention, Youth Services, Special Investigations, COPS Teams and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Donald L. Shinnamon, Sr.
1997-1999
On April 28, 1997, Shinnamon, was hired as Chief of Police.  Before taking the Chief's position, Shinnamon was the Deputy Chief for the Baltimore , Maryland Police Department. At the direction of Chief Shinnamon, a fresh look was given to PST vehicles. Chief Shinnamon also initiated the Mounted Unit, changed the officers' handguns to a 40 caliber H & K, and assisted Criminal Investigations Division with AFIS for forensics. Chief Shinnamon led the Gainesville Police Department to national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc, which was awarded in March 1999.

Daryl Johnston
1999-1999
Daryl Johnston was with the Gainesville Police Department from 1974 to 1996.  Daryl Johnston started his career at the Gainesville Police Department in 1974 as a Uniform Patrol Officer and worked his way through the ranks to become Deputy Chief in 1993.  He retired in 1996 to take a Deputy Directors position at the Santa Fe Community College Police Department. 

In April 1999,  Daryl Johnston returned to the Gainesville Police Department to serve as Interim Chief until the City of Gainesville found a replacement for the former Chief Shinnamon who resigned in March of 1999.  Norman Botsford was appointed Chief of Police in November of 1999.

Norman B. Botsford
1999-2009
Norman Botsford was sworn in as Gainesville’s Police Chief at a formal ceremony conducted by United States District Judge Stephan Mickle on November 1, 1999.

Chief Botsford served as Chief of the Columbia, Missouri Police Department for two years. Prior to his service in Columbia, he had a career of over 30 years in Florida law enforcement. He served with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department from 1966 until 1993, beginning as a Patrol Officer and working through the ranks to his final position of Interim Chief of Police. From 1993 to 1997, he served as Colonel and Director of Law Enforcement Services for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Botsford received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Florida Atlantic University.  He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Advanced Administrative Officers Course of the Southern Police Institute. He is a licensed personal fitness trainer. He currently serves on the IACP National Committee on Community Policing and is an active member of the Florida Police Chief’s Association.  In 2007, Governor Charlie Crist appointed Chief Botsford to the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.

At Chief’s Botsford direction, the Gainesville Police Department has initiated, continued and expanded a number of programs to make citizens safer and to reduce crime in Gainesville.  These programs include: District Policing, DataTrac, an Intelligence Center, a new Records Management and Field Reporting System, Citizen Policing, the Black on Black Crime Task Force, the Reichert House, Domestic Violence Unit, Computer Crimes Unit, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit, Citizen Police Academy, Comprehensive Drug Plan, Sex Offender/Predator Unit, P2C - Police to Citizen Website and the main GPD website.  The Gainesville Police Department is also a member of the Youth Violence Task Force and several regional, state and national data-sharing programs. 

Before his retirement, Chief Botsford headed a new GPD building project, allowing the agency to reach a higher level of service. A new administration building was completed in October 2007.