01/11/10 263 W, 4 I - + 12 - 8 Winston-Salem Fire-Police, 1958

Here's another random historical doc, this time a 1958 report on Winston-Salem's fire-police, a program that predated the better known public safety officers of the 1970s. Let's turn the clock back to January 1, 1957, when a large annexation was effective. The acquired territory included everything from high-dollar homes to a college to a few small industries. A new fire company was thus planned, Fire Company No. 8.

Meanwhile, the City Manager had an idea. He did some studying on a concept of combining firefighters and police officers. He proposed creating a fire-police patrol along with the new fire company. Fourteen men, four on duty at any time. Two at the station, to drive/ride the engine. Two patrolling the district, engaged in law enforcement duties, but ready to respond to fires when called.

The program was approved, the fire-police force was created, and a six month-later evaluation was planned. This document, copied from the Forsyth County Public Library, is that evaluation.

What were the report's observations? There were some seeming benefits: performing size-up, controlling fires themselves, extinguishing two separate fires simultaneously, locating fires visually, public relations value, and five fewer personnel required than separate entities. What were the report's findings? That the fire-police patrol continue, and that studies of future fire companies, to determine if more fire-police patrols should be organized.

What happened next? Don't know. To be determined. However, two decades later, Winston-Salem operated a public safety officer program from 1973 to 1987. As did other cities, such as Butner, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Morganton. Read the report, or click the below image:

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