The Glenn Heights Police Department’s roots coincide with the City’s incorporation in 1969. Joe Howard became the first leader of the City’s law enforcement agency with his designation as Town Marshall in October 1969. He served for six months before Douglas Curry was appointed in April 1970 as the Town Marshall. In May 1971 the Office of Town Marshall was abolished and the Glenn Heights Police Department was officially established.
Douglas Curry continued to serve and lead as the City’s first Chief of Police. During his term, Chief Curry oversaw the City’s initial purchase of police equipment, including radios and uniforms. Chief Curry's tenure as Police Chief ended in September 1973.
Successive Chiefs & Accomplishments
Chief Lawson Dyer, Jr. was sworn in as the City’s second Chief of Police in November 1973 and served until October 1976. During his term, Chief Dyer coordinated the City’s initial purchase of a fully equipped police vehicle and the appointment of the City’s first Municipal Court Judge, the Honorable Ike Vanden Eykel in June of 1976.
Chief John “Mike” Thornhill replaced Chief Dyer in October 1976 and served as the Chief of Police until April of 1983. In September 1978, additional responsibilities were given to Chief Thornhill as he became the City’s first Fire Chief. The first full-time police officer, Mike Dupree, was also hired during Chief Thornhill’s term.
After Chief Thornhill’s departure, Chief Larry G. Haney, Chief George E Spurgin, and Chief Robert K. “Bob” Adams, led the Department until May 1987, when Chief Carson D. Woodell was appointed and served until June 1989. During his tenure, Chief Woodell oversaw the implementation of the Department’s first computerized records system.
Chief George Cowand served November 1989 until March 1995 and Chief Roy M. Layman served from July 1995 until May 1999.
In July 1999, Chief Phillip M. Prasifka was appointed and served until August 2017.
In August 2017, Eddie Burns Sr., was appointed as Director of Public Safety and oversaw both the Police and Fire Departments.
In October 2019, Vernell Dooley was appointed as Chief of Police and served until October 2020.
In October 2020, Lucan Benson was appointed as Interim Chief of Police and served until August 2021.
Clayton Shields was appointed as Interim Chief of Police in August 2021. Chief Shields joined the department in 2019 and brings 14 years of law enforcement experience in patrol, criminal investigations, management and training.