Herbert Turner Jenkins

Herbert Turner Jenkins (June 7, 1907 – July 20, 1990) was the longest serving police chief of Atlanta.

Early life

Herbert Turner Jenkins was born on June 7, 1907 in Lithonia, Georgia to police officer Gordon Alexander Jenkins (1886-1932) and his wife Jane "Jennie" Elliott Jenkins (1888-1978). Jenkins moved to Atlanta in 1924 to work in its first automotive dealership.


He joined the force in 1932 and was made chief in 1947. He served as chief for 25 years until retiring in 1972 shepherding the city through racial strife during the desegregation of public transportation, public schools and parks. Fully backed by Mayor William Hartsfield, he was able to bring all parties to the table helping Atlanta progress mostly peacefully through straits that crippled other Southern cities.


After retiring he became a researcher at Emory University which he was able to parlay into books about Atlanta history. His wife, Marguerite "Margie" Mason Jenkins, died in 1987, and Chief Jenkins committed suicide three years later. He was buried next to his wife at the Rockbridge Baptist Church cemetery in Norcross, Georgia, and survived by two sons, Herbert Turner Jenkins, Jr. and James Sage Jenkins.[1]

See also


  • Keeping the Peace
  • Forty Years on the Force (1932-1972)
  • Atlanta and the Automobile (1977)


  1. Narvaez, Alfonso A. (1990-07-31). "Herbert Jenkins, 83, Former Police Chief In Atlanta, Is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
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