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February 13, 2013
Black History Month
African American Achievements in Law Enforcement
In recognition of Black History Month, this article will list the history of African Americans in the law enforcement profession and highlight one African American who has distinguished himself in the profession. Of course, there are many achievements by African American police officers on a daily basis all over the country, but in this article I will focus on some of the history associated with African American police officers. Thanks to the National Law Enforcement Museum for much of the chronology and information related to this topic.
1844- first organized police department in the United States- New York City
1867-first African American police officer hired in Selma, Alabama
1868- first African American police officer hired in Jacksonville, Florida
1870-The City of New Orleans had 177 African American police officers on their force and 3 of the 5 Police Board members were African American.
1871- first African American police officer hired in Jackson, Mississippi
1872- first African American police officer hired in Chicago, Illinois
1874- first African American police officer hired in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1870- William Johnson was the first African American police officer killed in the line of duty; He worked for the Jacksonville, Florida Sheriffs Department and was killed by a suspect who used physical force on him.
1875- First United States Marshall west of the Mississippi River; Bass Reeves was a former slave whose district included Oklahoma and Texas. He became a legend for his bravery and ability to single-handedly apprehend criminals.
1878- Horatio Julius Homer- first African American Boston Police Officer. He was also the first African American police sergeant as he was promoted in 1895 to that position.
1891- Wiley G. Overton- first known African American Police Officer in New York City PD.
1916- Georgia Ann Robinson- first African American woman police officer in Los Angeles PD.
1926- Samuel Jesse Battle- first NYPD African American sergeant, in 1935 he was the first Lieutenant and in 1941 was the first Parole Commissioner.
1928- Dr. Louis Tompkins- first African American NYPD Police Surgeon
1941- William B. Lindsay-first African American State Trooper-Illinois State Police
1966- Lucius Amerson-first African American Sheriff, Macon County, Georgia
1972-formation of the National Black Police Officers Association
1976- formation of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
1988- Willie Williams- first African American Commissioner for Philadelphia PD
Today, there are many African Americans in the law enforcement profession. It is estimated that nationally, approximately 12% of the nations police officers are African American. The biggest concentration of this percentage is in our larger cities. Today there are many African Americans in leadership positions in our country. The President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police last year was African American. The President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police 2 years ago was African American. The New Jersey State Police had an African American Superintendent several years ago (Carson Dunbar) and today several of the high command of the NJ State Police are African American. And the list can continue. African Americans have played a significant role in the evolution of law enforcement, an evolution that continues today. We will examine the life of one African American Law Enforcement leader and the impact he has had on the profession.
Lee Patrick Brown is sometimes referred to as The Father of Community Policing. He was born to sharecropper parents Andrew and Zelma Brown in the town of Wewoka, Oklahoma in 1937. He received a B.A. in criminology from Fresno State University in 1960 and four years later earned an M.A. from San Jose State University in criminology. In 1970 he received a Ph.D. in criminology from the University of California, Berkeley. He began his law enforcement career working as a patrol officer for the San Jose Police Department while he was in college. After graduating from college he took several positions in higher education, however in 1975, he returned to law enforcement as a
deputy sheriff in Oregon and was soon named as the Director of the Multnomah County (Oregon) Department of Justice. In 1978 Brown became the first African American Commissioner of Police for Atlanta, Georgia. Two years into his tenure, he became nationally known as being the leading law enforcement official involved in the infamous Atlanta Child Murders. Twenty-four people went missing and were later found murdered. Racial tensions rose when many observers assumed the serial killer was white. Brown was instrumental in calming racial tensions as the Atlanta police eventually arrested an African American man, Wayne B. Williams, who was tried and convicted for the murder of two of the victims. In 1982, Brown became the first African American Chief of Police for the city of Houston, Texas. He held that position until 1990 when New York City Mayor David Dinkins invited him to run the police force in his city. Brown, the first African American Police Commissioner for the City of New York where he led the largest police department in the nation. He eventually became the first African American mayor of Houston. He served three two-year terms until stepping down in 2004. Way before his time, he advocated in many of the agencies he lead the adoption of crime prevention techniques and community investment in education to impede the growth of crime. He particularly urged urban public schools to adopt programs with pre-teens which urged the prevention of drug use. He pioneered community policing as it known today by calling on police departments to deploy officers to foot patrols and encouraged the visible police presence in high crime areas and positive public interactions with the community to build support for legitimate policing efforts. His efforts in this area are a tribute to Commissioner Brown and the African American Law Enforcement Community. Much of his work and philosophy have become the cornerstone of law enforcement policy since the 90s. (Sources:Alston Hornsby Jr. and Angela M. Hornsby, From the Grassroots: Profiles of Contemporary African American Leaders (Montgomery, Alabama: E-Book Time LLC, 2006); Charles M. Christian, Black Saga: The African American Experience (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1995);
Should you desire to learn more about African Americans in Law Enforcement an excellent book is Black Police in America by W. Marvin Dulaney. In this book the author examines African American history in law enforcement and the struggles they have had to endure in the profession.
TIP OF THE WEEK: To our residential community: We have experienced two thefts of motor vehicles in the last week; one from lot #7 and one from the North Lot. Both vehicles were older model Honda Civics, one of which had after-market parts installed in it. Both were taken over night. These are very unusual incidents for our campus and we need your assistance. The only information at this time we can release on suspects, are two individuals wearing hoodies. They were observed on our security camera system walking through the lot checking out vehicles. The campus police will have additional patrols in the residential parking lots overnight but we are also asking for your help. If you see anyone in any of our parking lots that appears suspicious, contact us immediately so we can check them out. If you own a vehicle similar to what has been stolen (older model Honda Civic or Accord,1995-2005 with after-market parts installed) you can
contact the campus police via email at Police.Campus@stockton.edu for additional security information. If you have information on these thefts you can call, 609-652-4390 or email the campus police at our crime tip line listed below: http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=48&pageID=10&action=tipline
We continue to ask for your assistance as safety is everyones business. So please report any safety or security concern to us at 609-652-4390 or dial 9-1-1 in an emergency.
In recognition of Black History Month, this article will list the history of African Americans in the law enforcement profession and highlight one African American who has distinguished himself in the profession. Of course, there are many achievement...1844- first organized police department in the United States- New York City1867-first African American police officer hired in Selma, Alabama1868- first African American police officer hired in Jacksonville, Florida1870-The City of New Orleans had 177 African American police officers on their force and 3 of the 5 Police Board members were African American.1871- first African American police officer hired in Jackson, Mississippi1872- first African American police officer hired in Chicago, Illinois1874- first African American police officer hired in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania1870- William Johnson was the first African American police officer killed in the line of duty; He worked for the Jacksonville, Florida Sheriffs Department and was killed by a suspect who used physical force on him.1875- First United States Marshall west of the Mississippi River; Bass Reeves was a former slave whose district included Oklahoma and Texas. He became a legend for his bravery and ability to single-handedly apprehend criminals.1878- Horatio Julius Homer- first African Americ