November 10, 2015 - Randy Surratt
The North Carolina Chapter of APCO began September 18th, 1961. The founding members were Sanford Smith, City of Greensboro, Buck Sloop, North Carolina Highway Patrol and Robert Franklin, North Carolina Highway Patrol.
The first chapter meeting was held on November 14th, 1961 in Greensboro, N.C. The meeting saw twenty seven members sign up and the chapter off to a roaring start. National APCO President Joe Marshall was in attendance. The Chapter Charter was officially signed on August 11th, 1962.
The charter was believed to be lost, but it reappeared in 2014. It is in the possession of the Historical Committee and is displayed every year at the Fall Conference.
Mr. Smith, Mr. Sloop and Mr. Franklin all served as Chapter Presidents. Mr. Franklin also served as Chapter Secretary/ Treasurer.
From its inception, the North Carolina Chapter took a strong stand on regulatory matters, radio operating procedures and frequency coordination.
Within five years the chapter had doubled its membership, drawn in many departments throughout the state and had become active on the Regional and National levels and worked frequently with Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland in forming an information exchange.
National Conferences were well attended by "Tarheel" members and in 1978 an East Coast Regional Conference was held in Greensboro, N.C. J. Don Shields (Chapter President 1973-1974) had begun a Standardized Telecommunicator Training Program.
Fifteen years after that first meeting, seventy members supported Sanford Smith in his successful candidacy for National APCO 2nd Vice President. He was National President from 1979-1980.
In 1978 a Regional Chapter Meeting (East/West) was begun on a trial basis to encourage new membership and activity.
In 1981 the membership of 108 supported a successful Charles (Chuck) English in his bid for National APCO 2nd Vice President. He was National President from 1984-1985.
Chapter activity then began concentrating on a co-departmental effort to support dispatcher training and workshops were held at the 1982 East Coast Regional Conference in Raleigh, N.C.
The N.C. Chapter has hosted other East Coast Regional Conferences including 2005 and 2008 in Greensboro, N.C. and 2010 in Concord, N.C.
The Chapter began meeting and conferencing with N.C. NENA in 1996.
Through the years, the list of N.C. APCO Presidents either disappeared or was never maintained. An extensive study and research was performed by the Historical Committee. With the assistance of past members, early APCO Bulletins and National APCO, a correct list of N.C. APCO Presidents was completed and is maintained on a perpetual plaque. It was presented at the 2012 Fall Conference for the chapter's 50th anniversary. A complete presidential list can be found on the chapter's website.
Along with Sanford Smith and Charles English, two other North Carolinians have served as National APCO President. The first was C.M. Smith, a radio engineer with the N.C. State Highway Patrol. Mr. Smith served on the National APCO board more than twenty years before the N.C. Chapter began. He was a member of the Atlantic Chapter which is still an active chapter today. Mr. Smith however, only served as National President for one month in 1941. At this time, National APCO was only six years old. He resigned from the highway patrol and the public safety industry to pursue a position in the private sector involving the radio broadcast field. The fourth North Carolinian to serve as National President was Frank Huggins from 1993-1994. Mr. Huggins was a N.C. APCO Chapter President from 1975-1976.
Additional information on APCO International History can be found in the APCO Virtual Museum.
A portion of this historical record was written by Lin Hardy Ford and appeared in the APCO Bulletin in December of 1983.