“Never Give Up Your Gun!” This advice to police officers is now universally known. In 1964, policing, particularly in rural Georgia, was more a matter of personality than training. But when three officers were killed on a lonely road one night, police everywhere woke up to the possibility that respect for the badge may no longer be enough to save their lives.
The Gwinnett County, Georgia, Police Department was formed by tough, honorable men who were brought in to clean up the county after the sheriff made moonshining his personal business. But with a low budget—officers had to buy their own uniforms, guns, even bullets—the police had to take anyone with a pulse who could stand upright. Even with the odds against them, the police department grew into a force feared by the criminals and respected by county citizens.
Late one night in spring of 1964, the police in Gwinnett County—and everywhere—learned just how far that respect would go in saving their lives in a tight spot. Officers Jesse Gravitt, Ralph Davis, and Jerry Everett responded to a report of suspicious activity on a desolate country road named Arc. What they found was a kind of criminal they were completely unprepared for, a psychopath who would do anything to avoid the consequences of his actions, including the cold-blooded killing of three county police officers.
This began one of the most intense murder investigations that Georgia had ever seen. Arc Road is the story of those officers, that investigation, and the fallout from those horrific murders that changed the way law enforcement officers are trained.