Moore worked his way through high school as the school's janitor. He moved to Birmingham from Albertville and began his career as a patrolman in 1936. He was promoted to chief 20 years later by one-term Public Safety Commissioner Robert Lindbergh. Former Commissioner Bull Connor defeated Lindbergh in the 1956 Birmingham municipal election and became Moore's immediate supervisor just a few months into his tenure.
In 1957 Connor accused Moore of allowing illegal liquor sales and of campaigning for his political opponent and attempted to have him removed from the department, but the charges were dismissed by the Jefferson County Civil Service Board and Moore kept his job. He created the department's K-9 Unit, later employed famously by Connor to terrorize young protesters at Kelly Ingram Park.
Moore had discussed with the press the possibility of hiring black police officers as early as 1958, but Connor made it clear there was no such possibility as long as he had charge over the department.
After Birmingham voters removed Connor from office, Moore remained at the department. In the late 1960s he worked to ensure that the first African-American officer on the force, Leroy Stover, was being treated fairly by his fellow officers.
After leaving the department, Moore became an investigator for the Attorney General of Alabama Bill Baxley. His car was peppered with gunshots one night outside his house during the re-investigation of the 1963 church bombing.
G. L. Pattie
|Chief of Birmingham Police Department
Jim C. Parsons
- Bright, Taylor (May 22, 2002) "Bull Connor’s police chief recalls turbulent civil rights movement." Gadsden Times
- "Former Birmingham police chief dead at 96" (December 27, 2002) Associated Press