Blog: On The Beat

James Wormley Jones

The First Black FBI Agent The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency with a history full of firsts, one of the most noteworthy being the appointment of the first Black federal agent, James Wormley Jones. Image Source James Wormley…

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Michael Cox

From a Case of Mistaken Identity Rises a Ruthless Chief In January 1995, Michael Cox was an up-and-coming Boston Police officer in the anti-gang violence unit. One night, while on-duty as a plain-clothes officer in pursuit of murder suspect Robert…

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Jacob Chestnut

A Hero at the Capitol We saw the valiancy of the U.S. Capitol Police firsthand on January 6, 2021, when officers like Eugene Goodman acted courageously during the insurrection at the Capitol. But that was not the first instance where…

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Walter A. Gordon

Berkeley’s First Black Juris Doctor From the grandson of slaves to the first African American to receive a JD (Juris Doctor) degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Walter A. Gordon is an exceptional figure in Black law enforcement history….

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William West

The Only Officer to Arrest a Sitting President In all of American history, only one president has ever been arrested while in office. The year was 1872 and President Ulysses S. Grant found himself caught on the wrong side of…

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Charles Ramsey

DC Metro’s First Black Chief of Police Washington, D.C., is home to over two dozen federal and local law enforcement agencies that have encountered many historic firsts and influential figures. One of these history-makers is the first Black chief of…

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Willie L. Williams

LAPD’s First Black Chief The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)  is one of the most famous and largest police departments in the United States. The department has investigated some of the most unspeakable and historic crimes in the country, including…

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The Founding Officers of NOBLE

How a Three-Day Symposium Became a Leading Organization for African Americans in Law Enforcement In September 1976, a symposium was called by the Police Foundation and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), with the Joint Center for Political Studies (JCPS),…

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Violet Hill Whyte

Baltimore’s “Lady Law” It is unique for a city’s first Black officer to be a woman—but that’s precisely what happened in Baltimore, Maryland, early in the 20th century. Image Source In December 1937, Violet Hill Whyte was the first Black…

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Lucius Amerson

The First Black Sheriff since Reconstruction Macon County, Alabama, has been a place of progress for African Americans since 1881 when Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee University, initially known as the Tuskegee Normal School. African American leaders from all…

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Renault Robinson

Co-Founder of the African American Police League Renault Robinson was born on September 8, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois—a city that would become the epicenter of not only his law enforcement career, but also his Civil Rights advocacy. Robinson joined the…

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The “YMCA” Cops

Atlanta’s First African American Police Officers In April 1948, the basement of Atlanta’s Butler Street YMCA took on a new role—a police precinct for the city’s first Black officers: Henry Hooks, Claude Dixon, Ernest H. Lyons, Robert McKibbens, Willard Strickland,…

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