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Award created for first Black Miami police officers

During the Jim Crow era, Black officers in Miami were forced to patrol with no real headquarters until the Black Police Precinct was designed in 1950.  (Photo courtesy of HistoricalBlackPrecinct.org.)

During the Jim Crow era, Black officers in Miami were forced to patrol with no real headquarters until the Black Police Precinct was designed in 1950.
(Photo courtesy of HistoricalBlackPrecinct.org.)

Award created for first Black Miami police officers

Black Police Precinct & Courthouse Museun to honor those who blazed the trail

By Miami Times Staff Writer

      In 1944, the Miami Police Department hired the first five African American police officers: Ralph White, Moody Hall, Clyde Lee, Edward Kimball and John Milledge. The Black Police Precinct & Courthouse Museum created an award called the First Five Pioneer Award and will confer it to similar pioneers in law enforcement. The honorees to receive the premiere First Five Pioneer Award  include:

Retired Police Chief Clarence Dickson, Miami’s first Black chief of police; Retired Lt. Archie McKay, Miami Police Department; Retired Lt. Otis Davis, Miami Police Department; Carolyn Pates, Miami’s first Black dispatcher; Retired Assistant Chief of Police Carolyn Clarke (not pictured), Miami Police Department; Retired Lt. Walter Hardemon, Miami Police Department (not pictured).

The awards were conferred on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at the Black police museum in Miami, Fla.

Honorees were recognized for their contribution to the inclusion and advancement of African American officers and support staff in the Miami Police Department.

Because of segregation, the First Five officers could not operate out of the main Miami Police Station. So, they policed by walking and riding bicycles. There are even stories of arrested prisoners being taken to jail on bicycle handlebars, or by walking and even hailing rides from citizens driving by. They had no cars, no radio contact and, most of all, no headquarters.

In 1950, renowned Miami architect, Walter G. DeGarmo, designed the first and only Black precinct and courthouse in the nation just in time to house a growing staff that included many of the honorees. Then, and now, the building is the only one of its kind in the nation. The precinct and courthouse were refurbished and restored and designated a historic museum that acquires, preserves, displays and promotes collections that relate to the struggles of Miami Black police officers in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.

Support for the awards presentation came from the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association.

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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