Although the Greensboro Police Department did not actually come into existence as an officially sanctioned governmental agency until 1889, its roots extend back to the early 19th century. In 1810, the General Assembly passed a legislative charter for the town of Greensborough which set forth its first set of town regulations whereby six men were appointed as Commissioners of Police and were charged with preserving law and order in and for the town. In 1824, Greensborough became a self-governing town and was placed under the charge of five Town Commissioners, one of whom was the Town Constable. In 1829, the Town Commissioners appointed the first "Public Officer" and in March 1830, the Commissioners established a Citizen's Patrol system, designed to supplement the Public Officer position.
By the middle of the 19th Century, Greensborough had three paid law enforcement officers, whose efforts were also supplemented by a Citizen's Patrol system. On July 11, 1889, the City of Greensboro instituted a new city charter, which gave the Board of Alderman power to appoint a police force, consisting of a Chief of Police and policemen, officially establishing the Greensboro Police Force.
During the era of civil rights activity in the city, the Greensboro Police Department was led by Chief Paul B. Calhoun, from 1956-1974 and Chief William E. Swing, from 1975-1983. During this time period, the Greensboro police managed numerous non-violent and violent protests including public school desegregation, lunch counter sit-ins and protests’ against segregated businesses, Dudley High and North Carolina A&T State university protests, and the Klan and Nazi confrontation with Workers Viewpoint Organization (later Communist Workers Party) protestors.
A full history of Greensboro’s Police Department can be found at http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/departments/Police/AboutUs/History/