Captain Roy Shelton receiving a gift or award in unknown year: Sergeant Thomas (Roy) Carey, Patrolman Al Abrass, Captain Roy Shelton, Patrolman Danny Perzynski, Lieutenant Ernest Shea, Sergeant Floyd Cartlidge and Lieutenant D. Schaeffer.
First Retired and Promoted Officers Honorary Dinner Program
Sponsored by the Afro American Patrolmen's League (The African American Police League) on March 6, 1987.
Click the cover photo to read the program.
On February 1, 1887 became the first African American appointed as Toledo Police Officer. He retired on January 2, 1914 after 27 years of service.
Politics of Tokenism 1890-1930
Black police officers were restricted to patrol beats in black communities and from arresting whites. Generally, black police officers were denied any rank above sergeant. By the 1920s, the Toledo Police Department had hired a number of black officers and were one of the first departments to hire black female officer.
Rising Above Tokenism
Edward Harris was appointed as substitute officer in 1907. He was the first black police officer to be promoted to command rank. He was promoted to detective sergeant in 1912 and to detective lieutenant in 1914.
Harris was also an actor and singer who worked on Broadway, performing on all black musicals. He left show business in 1904 when his amazing baritone voice cracked.
Esther Cannon Ferguson
Esther Cannon Ferguson was appointed on March 6, 1922. She was the third female appointed as policewoman for the Toledo Police Department.
World War II
The Bravery of Jacob Chandler
Jacob Chandler was the only Toledo Police officer to die for his country in an overseas conflict. Appointed to the Toledo Police Department on September 8, 1941, he was on leave from the police department when he enlisted in the army to fight in World War II.
Jacob earned the rank of Second Lieutenant and was a decorated soldier. He was killed in action in Italy on February 9, 1945 and is buried in the Florence American Cemetery in Italy.
Separate and Unequal 1940s and 1950s
Policing in a segregated nation confronted police officers everywhere. Black police officers provided a black presence in local governments but were still used primarily to police black communities. Black officers received more cooperation from black citizens than their white counterparts and helped them solve more crimes in black communities.
Black Police Unionism: African American Police League
In August, 1968 a group of black Toledo Police officers met to form a group in Toledo and unite with other similar organizations in the country. The purpose of uniting was to address the issues of discrimination in promotions, assignment and the issuance of discipline.
The League filed a federal lawsuit outlining the discrepancies in hiring and promotion of black officers. Federal Court magistrate Donald Young issued a federal court decree mandating that doors be open to blacks and Latinos in the hiring and promotion process.
Emergence of African American Police Administrators, 1970-current
Blacks had served as police officers for over a century as “tokens,” “negro specials,” and second class police officers. Lack of promotion was caused by racist policies. Initial ascendancy to leadership roles in the 1970s and 1980s was long overdue.
First Black Captain
Roy C. Shelton
Sergeant - 12/16/48
Lieutenant - 1/1/54
Captain - 4/1/63
First Black Female Lieutenant
Sergeant - 2/3/84
Lieutenant - 11/20/87
First Black Deputy Chief
Sergeant - 8/13/76
Lieutenant - 3/26/82
Captain - 12/13/84
Deputy Chief - 12/23/86
First Black Chief
Sergeant - 5/2/86
Lieutenant - 5/16/90
Captain - 7/26/95
Deputy Chief - 10/10/01
Chief - 10/21/11
First Black Officer to Receive Badge Number 1
On June 18, 1873, the Board of Police Commissioners passed a resolution stating that badge (shield) No. 1 was to be issued by seniority, which is to the Patrolman having the longest service on the force. The resolution also stated that badge No. 2 and on was to be issued accordingly. The resolution has not always been adhered to.
Officer Dana Slay