William S. Lindsey Sr., a former Anne Arundel County police chief who was also an accomplished bluegrass musician, died of heart failure Friday at Marley Neck Health and Rehabilitation Center in Glen Burnie. He was 75.
Mr. Lindsey was born in Baltimore and raised in Arbutus. After graduating from Catonsville High School in 1950, he served in the Air Force during the Korean War.
Mr. Lindsey's police career inadvertently began when, as an out-of-work Glenn L. Martin Co. jet engine mechanic with a brand-new house and mortgage, he was pulled over for speeding and given a ticket by a Maryland state trooper.
"He thought to himself that he had just met someone who did not have to worry about government contracts in order to keep a job, so he then applied to the Maryland State Police and the Anne Arundel County police," said a daughter, Deanna B. DiMarino of Pasadena.
The county police were the first to offer him a job, so Mr. Lindsey went to work as a patrolman in 1960.
"He signed on as a patrolman in 1960, when nocturnal animals were a more common sight than drunk drivers and Annapolis was a backwater town that came alive only when the General Assembly was in session," a 1986 Evening Sun profile said.
Mr. Lindsey rose through the ranks, becoming a detective and a patrol sergeant. When he was appointed chief in 1983 by County Executive James O. Lighthizer - he was the first officer to rise through the ranks in the county's merit system to become chief - he had been deputy chief for three years.
He was promoted to sergeant in 1968, lieutenant in 1971, captain in 1974 and deputy chief in 1979. He was chief for three years before he retired in 1986.
In 1971, he became the first commander of the research and development section and headed the information division in 1975.
In 1979, when he was appointed commander of the Line Division, Mr. Lindsey was responsible for the patrol officers in the county's four districts, field services, special-operations sections and traffic safety.
He was appointed chief at a time of low morale in the department, which he remedied with regular open-door meetings with rank-and-file officers.
"They're tired, I believe, of a lot of the bickering that goes on," he told The Evening Sun.
Because he had also had extensive training in data processing, he championed the use of computers in police work.
In 1985, Mr. Lindsey scrapped the entry-level agility test - which included scaling a 7-foot wall, dragging around a 168-pound dummy, sprinting a half-mile and traversing an obstacle course - because it kept women from entering the county police training program.
"He did an excellent job and was well-liked in the department. I was glad that he replaced me, and it was a pleasure to see him get the promotion," said Maxwell V. Frye Jr., whom Mr. Lindsey succeeded as chief.
"He was very calm and steady, and when you have that job, you worry about your officers all the time because of the dangers they're facing," he said.
David R. Bunting, who is retired from the department, was Mr. Lindsey's adjutant for several years.
"He was a cop's cop who always put the men and women of the department first, and its image was second," Mr. Bunting said. "He was one of my best friends."
Mr. Lindsey was a 1974 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., and was a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and served on the National Highway Safety Committee.
He enjoyed entertaining family and friends with bluegrass and country songs that he played on his guitar.
"It was a big outside interest," Mr. Bunting said.
"We didn't know a get-together at our house that did not include musicians and music. Bill and his longtime friend and singing partner, Billy Joe Elrod, always made the get-togethers fun and memorable," Mrs. DiMarino said. "They could entertain and loved doing so."
He also enjoyed crabbing and spending time at a second home that he and his wife of 47 years, the former Deanna Rhodes, who died in 2003, owned in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Barranco & Sons Funeral Home, 495 Ritchie Highway in Severna Park.
Also surviving are a son, Michael S. Lindsey of Eldersburg; another daughter, Laurie S. Andrews of Fruitland; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.