William "Billy" Hansen Maack

CLASS OF 1941

William "Billy" Hansen Maack was born in Little Rock on December 7, 1920. He attended Robert E. Lee Elementary School and then Pulaski Heights Jr. High. In 1936, he entered Little Rock High School where he was captain of the football team. All-State in football, voted Best Athlete, Most School Spirit, Best All-Around and Most Popular, Maack also played on the varsity basketball team in 1936 and 1938. In 1939, he was elected president of his senior class. Because of his outstanding athletic ability he was invited to stay an additional term, which he did before graduating midterm 1940. Maack appreciates that his education in the Little Rock School District helped him develop a strong sense of self-worth and discipline that would help him face many difficult challenges in his life.

Though he was actively recruited by universities from Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, and by the University of Arkansas, he chose to attend Arkansas Tech College in Russellville due to his family's limited financial resources. He attended Tech for one and a half years before leaving in order to assist in supporting his family.

He joined the Little Rock Police Department in January 1942, where he worked as a patrolman before entering the United States Army in September. After basic training he was assigned to the 505th Ordnance Company and departed for England in December 1943. In June 1944, his division was part of the D-Day invasion, landing on Omaha Beach. In September of the same year he participated in the Ardennes Campaign (the Battle of the Bulge). He received the Bronze Star for his participation at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

He rejoined the Little Rock Police Force in 1947 and in 1949 was promoted to Detective Sergeant. By May of 1953, Maack was promoted to Lieutenant. During the Little Rock Central High School crisis he was promoted to Captain in charge of the uniform division. Maack's duties included maintaining a secure perimeter around the school and maintaining crowd control.

The Central High School crisis was a very trying time for him personally. As Captain, his orders were to maintain the peace. In doing so he offended many segregationists. He received numerous bomb and death threats all while working seven days a week and sometimes 24 hours a day without additional compensation. Neighbors and friends shunned him, and one of his men quit the police force out of protest of his orders of ensuring the safety of the African American students. One of Maack's darkest days was when a woman walked up to him, called him a "nigger lover," and then spat in his face. Maack had another concern: his oldest daughter was a freshman at Little Rock Central High and he feared the segregationist anger might turn on her. Maack went on to become one of the first Little Rock policemen to graduate from the FBI Academy near Washington, D.C.

In 1960 , he was promoted to Assistant to Chief of Police, where he remained until he retired in 1964. Shortly thereafter he became the Safety Director of Arkla Gas Company until he retired from that position in 1985. Maack married the former Dorothy Clement and had four children, two of whom became Little Rock police officers and six grandchildren, two of whom are Little Rock police officers.


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