He served as the Undersheriff of the Chatham County Sheriff's Department in Savannah, Georgia, and he was a major with the city's police department. In Florida, he was Chief of Police at Opa-locka and Chief Deputy Sheriff of Orange County, rising to Deputy Director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He arrived in Charleston as Chief of Police in 1982.
In the words of Charleston's The Post and Courier reporter David Slade, he "turned the... Police Department into a national model. In the process, he became a celebrity and a source of pride for the city ...."
Greenberg told his cops that their job was not to punish (that was up to the courts), but to make arrests, and in order to do that they had to be on good terms with the citizens. So he put his cops out on the streets, not in cars. They walked, rode bicycles and horses, and were accessible to "normal people," who might not want to call or visit headquarters.
He also required that every cop earn a bachelor’s degree, whereas when he arrived at the department not all had even graduated from high school. He added a K-9 bomb and drug-sniffing unit, a harbor patrol, and a crime lab to the police department. He had a team of officers remove graffiti the moment it appeared, sending a message that the city belonged to the police, not the vandals.
It worked, and Greenberg became a media celebrity. The Los Angeles Times headlined its profile, "A Black, Jewish, Roller-Skating Cop Brings A New Way to Fight Crime to the Old South."
Charleston's population increased 64% during the time Greenberg was chief, while crime decreased 11 percent.
Greenberg retired in 2005 after over 23 years.
Charleston Police Department
End of Watch:
Tuesday, September 23, 2014