Durham Police Force with Mayor Link
When Durham (population 250) was incorporated in 1869 after the Civil War, constables enforced the law. These early officials were selected by the board of alderman for a one-year renewable appointment. In 1880 J. B. Christian, constable since 1877, became the first official chief of police. Until the early 1900s, the aldermen appointed the chief for a two-year term, a decision typically more political than merit based. By the time this photograph was taken in 1894, seven chiefs of police had already headed the department, one of whom had only served 13 days.
The chief in this photograph is either J. A. Woodall, who served from March 1888 to May 1894, or W. A. Williams, who served from 1894 to May 1895. Pictured standing alone in the back is Mayor Isaac Newton Link, an early tobacconist, who served as mayor in 1880 and again in 1894.
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