BREVARD HISTORY: Archibald Mefford Elected Titusville Police Department’s First Chief in 1923
By Space Coast Daily // April 10, 2020
Titusville’s population was approximately 1,500 in the early 1920s and there were seven bars in the city
BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – The Titusville Police Department’s first Chief of Police, Archibald J. Mefford was born on September 13, 1890, in Stephenville, Texas.
Mefford would have been 33 years old when he was elected for his first term in 1923 as Police Chief in Titusville.
Prior to being elected, Chief Mefford was also a Titusville Town Marshal and a Constable for Brevard County District No. 2.
Mefford served as Chief of the Titusville Police Department for 18 years, having been elected to the position by popular vote every two years from 1923 until 1933, and was again re-elected in 1941, then serving until July 1946.
Titusville’s population was approximately 1,500 in the early 1920s and there were seven bars in the city. This was most likely the biggest contributing factor to the need for law enforcement during this time.
In 1929, the Chief’s salary was $125 per month and providing the Chief had Sunday’s off, that’s $4.81 per day. A full 12-hour day would yield him 40 cents per hour. That’s a 26 cent per hour increase over the Marshal’s salary.
The “Night Policeman,” a volunteer who kept watch for the Chief overnight, was not monetarily compensated. Chief Mefford used his own Model-T Ford for patrolling.
Mefford and his wife Bessie had five children, Novella, Archie “Jean”, Wilma, Cressie Irene, and Merle “Dean”.
The family first lived on what is now considered NASA property by Banana Creek in Merritt Island prior to moving to Titusville in 1918.
The only way of travel from Merritt Island to Titusville prior to 1922 was by boat, as the Walker Bridge linking the two cities was not built yet.
The family lived in houses on Tropic, Palm, and Hopkins over the course of their time in Titusville.
In addition to his duties as police chief, a U.S. Federal Census shows Mefford was also a produce dealer in Titusville.
Chief Mefford passed away in 1967 in Cocoa, Florida, where he and his wife lived after moving from Titusville.
– Titusville Police Department
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