The Kannapolis Police Department formed in 1909, as a one man department developed to serve a small mill village growing around the textile giant Cannon Mills. Under special legislation, the department’s jurisdiction consisted of a one-mile radius around the town’s YMCA. The first officer and Chief of the department was Dan Talbert. One of Chief Talbert’s duties was to manually operate the city’s only stop and go signal. The signal was located in the middle of the intersection at First Street and Main Street. Chief Talbert stood on a cement slab and manually changed the signal between red and green.
On December 5, 1922 the Kannapolis Police Officers were officially sworn in as Cabarrus County Deputies. Under special legislation, the Kannapolis Police Department remained a separate department with a separate chief; however it operated under the control and jurisdiction of the Cabarrus County Sheriff. This special arrangement continued until Kannapolis was incorporated in 1984.
As Cannon Mills and the town grew, so did the police department. By the early thirties, the department had grown to four patrolmen and a chief. Each officer was paid a salary of $95 a month. Chief Ira T. Chapman and his men spent most of their time walking a beat. When they needed a patrol car, they used their own vehicles. Money for gas and oil was deducted from fines collected by the officers. This was the case until the late 1940s when the department received three patrol cars. The vehicles were equipped with a new two-way FM radio system. The system not only allowed them to talk with each other, it also connected them with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Department and the NC Highway Patrol. The transmitter for the new WUTR – FM radio system was located in the tower of the old Cabarrus County Court House in Concord. It was connected by wire to the control panel at the Kannapolis Police Department.
From the book “Kannapolis, a Pictorial History,” published by the City of Kannapolis.
This photo depicts the aftermath of a moonshine raid in the late 1930s on a still in Cabarrus County. On the first row, kneeling, from left: “Footsie” Davis of the Kannapolis Police Department; an unidentified agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; an unidentified suspect captured in the raid, who may have been disposing of some evidence when the photo was taken; and a Mr. Barrier. Standing: future Kannapolis Police Chief R.L. “Bob” Ketchie; another unidentified suspect; Kannapolis Police Chief Ira Chapman; Cabarrus County Sheriff Ray Hoover; and an unidentified ATF agent. Bob Ketchie was not yet a full-fledged law officer when this raid occurred, but because of his speed, he was used as a “runner” to chase down suspects.
Since its inception, the Kannapolis Police Department has used five patches. The first patch was adopted in the early 1950s. While the color and size has varied over the years, the patch basically stayed the same until 1978. This patch was used from 1978 until 1984 when the City was incorporated.
The third patch displaying the eagle was used until approximately 1992.
The fourth patch was developed using the City’s newly developed seal in the center. The corn, cotton and tobacco represented agriculture; the plant, the textile history of the City; the fisherman, recreational opportunities; the cannon, a tribute to the Cannon Mills Textile plant; the dogwood, the State flower and 1984, the year the City was incorporated.
The fifth, and current patch, was created by former Police Chief Paul Brown and has special meaning behind its design as well. The four stars represent the four core values of the Police Department: excellence, professionalism, integrity, and stewardship. The eagle is a carry-over from the first department patch following incorporation and the thin blue line represents the world-wide law enforcement community.
On the evening of December 31, 1993, Officer Roger Dale Carter age 31 was dispatched to a residence for the service of a warrant. Officer Carter was ambushed by an assailant and killed as he exited his vehicle. Officer Carter had been with the Kannapolis Police Department 4 years. Roger left behind a loving family and community. He was loved and respected by many. The positive impact on those he met will never be forgotten. Rest in peace our brother. EOW 12/31/93.