Martinsville, Virginia


Sunday Afternoon Lecture "History of Community Police Departments"

By: John Phillips, President, Board of Directors Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society

July 9, 2024


The Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society will host its monthly Sunday Afternoon Lecture, “History of Community Police Departments” with Ron Stowe, on Sunday, July 21, 2024, 3:00 P.M., at the Historic Henry County Courthouse.

Stowe will discuss the history of the three police departments that no longer exist in Henry County. All three of the police departments started in the 1920s with the growth of the furniture and textile industry in the area and the mill towns that grew around them. Each of the companies funded their individual police departments, although the county also contributed. The Stanleytown Police Department closed in June 1980 when the
business climate significantly changed. Bassett Police Department began to downsize in the mid- to late 1980s and eventually closed. The Fieldale Police Department kept one officer into the 1990s before it closed.

The son of the Stanleytown Police Department’s last Chief of Police, Ron Stowe grew up in Stanleytown and graduated from Bassett High School. He attended Danville Community College and then followed in the footsteps of his father, Melvin Stowe, by joining the Henry County Sheriff’s Office in 1975. In 1980, he moved to High Point,
North Carolina, where he continued working in law enforcement at the High Point Police Department and retired as a captain.

Admission to the lecture is free, made possible by corporate sponsors, Carter Bank & Trust and The Lester Group. The Historic Henry County Courthouse is fully handicapped accessible. The Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Museum will be open following the presentation.