Black and Blue

History of African Americans on the Toledo Police Department

Esther Cannon Ferguson

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.

Deputy Chief Ronald Jackson (on the right) with Buddy Carr (Middle). It is unknown what the occasion was in the photo.

Chief Derrick Diggs

Black Pioneers

Albert King

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

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.

First Black Captain

Roy C. Shelton

Appointed:

1938

Promotions:

Sergeant - 12/16/48

Lieutenant - 1/1/54

Captain - 4/1/63

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 Female Lieutenant

Shirley Green

Appointed:

1976

Promotions:

Sergeant - 2/3/84

Lieutenant - 11/20/87

First Black Deputy Chief

Ron Jackson

Appointed:

1967

Promotions:

Sergeant - 8/13/76

Lieutenant - 3/26/82

Captain - 12/13/84

Deputy Chief - 12/23/86

First Black Chief

Derrick Diggs

Appointed:

1977

Promotions:

Sergeant - 5/2/86

Lieutenant - 5/16/90

Captain - 7/26/95

Deputy Chief - 10/10/01

Chief - 10/21/11

© 2017 Toledo Police Museum