Probably the very first "official" police headquarters.  Note the patrol bicycle and the radio antenna on the roof.
The beginning
 
Although it was not incorporated as the City of Gulfport until 1910, the town was settled much earlier.  In fact, the first resident built his home in 1867, and less than twenty years later, the town received its first name--Disston City.  This makes the area known as Gulfport among the oldest settlements in the Tampa Bay area.  During those early years, law was enforced without the need for officially appointed officers.  Residents took care of their own problems, and if anybody needed to be arrested on a warrant, the trolley driver would come in and pick him up.
 
 
1910-1920
 
 
 
1920-1940
 
 
 
1940's
 
 
 
1950's
 
 
 
1960's
 
 
 
1970's
 
 
 
1980's
 
 
 
1990's
 
 
 
Modern Times
 
 
 
Chiefs of Police
 
Robert A. Vincent (2010- 
 
On February 2, 2010 Robert A. Vincent was appointed Chief of Police.  Chief Vincent has over seventeen years of experience serving the people of Gulfport. He is a graduate of Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg and the University of South Florida in Tampa. In 2006 Chief Vincent graduated from the 227th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  He is one of only two Gulfport officers who have had the honor of attending this prestigious course of instruction. Chief Vincent looks forward to increasing community interaction when it comes to policing strategies. On his first day he promised the people of Gulfport, "Gulfport is going to be policed the way residents want it to be policed." 
 
G. Curt Willocks (1991-2009)
 
G. Curt Willocks served as the Public Safety Director and Chief of Police for eighteen years, making him the longest serving chief in the history of Gulfport. He is credited with bringing the department to modern professional standards, achieving and maintaining status as an accredited agency in Florida.
 
Before coming to Gulfport, Chief Willocks served 20 years with the Boca Raton Police Department, where he retired as Deputy Chief of Police.  Chief Willocks was qualified with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University, and he was a graduate of the FBI Academy, DEA Academy, Senior Management Institute for Police, Florida Chief Executive Institute and the Secret Service Academy on Dignitary Protection. 
 
During his career, Chief Willocks served as president of the Tampa Bay Area Chief’s of Police Association, chairman of the Pinellas County Police Standards Council, Director of the Florida Police Chief’s Association, and as a member of the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation.
 
Dr. James "Jim" Sewell (1986-1990)
 
Chief Sewell came to Gulfport at the age of 35, the second youngest chief in the agency's history.  He had been an investigator at Florida State University and then a supervisory special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement before being hired as Gulfport's chief.  Armed with impressive education credentials (a doctorate from FSU), Chief Sewell is credited with bringing many positive changes to the department, including increases in training and recruting standards.
 
Herman "Hap" Golliner (1971-1985)
 
Golliner was instrumental in modernizing the police services.  He increased the sworn strength, creating patrol shifts for 24-hour coverage as well as full-time communications and support personnel.  Golliner also increased screening and training standards for police officers, and he was responsible for implementing a K-9 patrol within the department.
 
Golliner died just two years after his retirement from Gulfport, and his funeral was attended by many current and former officers. 
 
Rudolph "Rudy" Roth (1965-1971)
 
Chief Roth saw the department through turbulent times, including the fear of riots at Boca Ciega High School during racial integration.  He also presided during the national push towards professionalism of law enforcement.  
 
William "Bill" Jopson (1954-1965)
 
Jopson managed a department that grew from three officers to twelve during his tenure, obviously spending a great deal of time himself patrolling the streets and handling neighborhood problems.  He was also credited with the creation of a police records section.  Previously, police records were essentially non-existent. Jopson was revered by the people of Gulfport, who later elected him mayor.  Jospon served as mayor from 1967 to 1969.
 
Perry Weiss (1953)

Weiss was a young patrolman with less than two years' experience when he was appointed by the mayor to fill the unexpired term of Ed Lisenby. Weiss was selected in recogntion of his college education, where he had majored in criminology.

Ed Lisenby (1948-1953)
 
Lisenby oversaw the development of plans and building of a new police station, complete with a communications room and holding cell.  This police station, which was designed when the department consisted of three officers, lasted until 1993, when there were 29 officers patrolling Gulfport.  Following five years of service with Gulfport, Lisenby left to become a deputy for the county sheriff's office. 
 
French Bishop (1947-1948)
 
Bishop was only 30 years old at the time of his appointment as chief of Gulfport's two-officer department. This makes him the youngest chief in the agency's history. He was a marine sharpshooter and then a Clearwater officer before joining Gulfport, where he worked for just a year before being named chief.  He was eventually demoted to patrol officer by the mayor, and he resigned shortly afterward.
 
Verner Cross (1947-1947)
 
Cross was officially the chief of police for two weeks before he fell ill and had to resign.
 
Fairley Sullivan (1947-1947)
 
Much controversy surrounds the departure of Chief Sullivan.  Mayor Williams asked for and received his resignation, but Sullivan later tried to withdraw the resignation, gaining support from many on city council.  Sullivan had worked as an officer in Mississippi before coming to Florida, and information about his record in Mississippi came to light long after he had been employed in Gulfport, Florida.  This information prompted the mayor's action even though Sullivan disputed its accuracy.  Because the town charter provided that the chief worked at the pleasure of the mayor, Sullivan eventually lost his plea for reinstatement.
 
Andrew Quist (1945-1947)
 
Chief Quist took the initiative of assigning a part-time officer to patrol only the waterfront area of town.  Also during his time as Chief, Winter fired one of his officers, submitting a letter to the mayor indicating that the officer "didn't do anything."
 
Edwin Ray Winter (1944-1945)
 
Winter took over following Holland's retirement in 1944, but his tenure was short lived.  Winter died on January 7, 1945, just two weeks after his appointment.
 
Lloyd "Mout" Holland (1935-1944)
 
Holland earned his nickname because of his frequent comment: "I mout lock ya up, I mout not."  His initial salary was $12.50 per week, from which he had to pay for prisoner meals.  As a result, he often left the jail unlocked in hopes that those "sleeping it off" would be gone by morning.  Holland drove a '35 Chevy, for which he was allowed to pump five gallons of city gas per week.  His officers' primary duties included collection of delinquent taxes and boat slip rentals.

Sam Renney (1929)


John Leigh (1926)


History of the Gulfport Police Department

Many of the photos on this page are courtesy of the Gulfport Historical Society as well as the personal scrapbooks of former Chief, Dr. James Sewell and Lieutenant George Munson.  Much of the historical information was obtained from Our Story of Gulfport, Florida (1985), by the Gulfport Historical Society, as well as information published by former city council member, Lynne S. Brown, in her book, Images of America--Gulfport.  Further details were obtained by Lieutenant Robert Vincent during archive research of the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent.
Photo Album
News & Letters
Circa 1975, the fleet of Dodges parked in front of the police station.
Circa 1991, the cake served at Chief Sewell's retirement party.
Gulfport Police Department, 1940's
Circa 1986--the official ID card issued to Chief James Sewell.
Gulfport Police Department, 1980's
The new police station, built in 1953
In the early years, this water tower had a light which was used by the town marshal to summon deputies.
The uniform patch from the 1950's
The uniform patch from the 1960's through the 1980's
Traffic crash from the 1960's.  Chief Roth is directing traffic in the background.  Occurred at Gulfport Blvd and 58th St. when an elderly woman drove into a power pole that was being hauled by a truck.  She was not injured.
Another traffic crash from the 1960's.  This one occurred at 11th Avenue and 49th Street.  Note the way the officers wore their guns.
This clipping from an unknown local newspaper depicts Gulfport officers preparing to deal with riotous conditions at Boca Ciega High School in the 1960's.
1966 Plymouth Fury patrol car with unidentified officer.
1968 Plymouth Fury patrol car with Officers Jim Parks and John Myers, and Sergeant George Munson
Circa 1968--An officer posing with riot gear, including a helmet with face shield and a semi-automatic rifle.
1970 Chevrolet Bel Aire patrol car, prior to it being marked.  Exterior and interior.  Compare to the new cars.
Lt. Hap Golliner, who later became chief, posing in front of the new Chevy in 1970.
Circa 1966--Chief Roth giving a briefing in the training/lunch room.
Circa 1966--PD lobby with entrance to Chief's office.  Note the cigarette vending machine!
Circa 1966--Sergeant George Munson in the communications center.
Gulfport Police Department--1960's
Circa 1967--View from the lobby through the communications center.  The door in back leads to the holding cells.
Circa 1969--The breathalyzer
Circa 1969--The door to the holding cell.
Circa 1973--the police lieutenant's office.
Circa 1973--This office was used by all of the police sergeants.  In the photo is officer Jim Parks.
Badges of the past.  Top was in service until the early 1950's.  Bottom was in service until 1989, when Stetson University College of Law purchased replacement badges for the police department.
High Profile & Interesting Cases
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gulfport Police Department

A Full- Service, Accredited Law Enforcement Agency
Pinellas County, Florida