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Forgotten Heroes: Black Police Officers Killed in Dade County, 1944-1995

NCJ Number
W Wilbanks
Date Published
91 pages
This volume presents a brief history of the policing of blacks and black policing from 1836 through 1995 in Dade County (Florida) and then provides narratives on the 11 black officers killed in the line of duty from 1944 through 1995.
For 108 years, policing in Dade County was an all-white occupation as the county was created by the Florida Territorial Legislature in 1836 and did not have its first black police officer until 1944. In July 1944, Miami's Director of Public Safety asked several black community leaders to submit names of black men "believed capable of employment as police officers." Five men were selected and given a 6-week training course. The training was conducted in secret to prevent violence by opponents of the idea. The first five Miami officers were paid at the same rate as white officers and wore identical uniforms, but were not covered by civil service (as white officers were), did not carry guns, patrolled only in Overtown (black community), and could not arrest white citizens. They were supervised in the "black precinct" by a white sergeant. Miami police officer John Milledge became the 33rd Dade officer and the first black officer killed in the line of duty in 1946. Ten other black officers have been killed in the line of duty through November 16, 1993. The purpose of this report is to remind Dade County of the sacrifice made by police officers killed in the line of duty and to provide the community with information about each officer (background and descendants), the event that caused the death of each officer, and the outcome of the case with respect to the perpetrator (whether convicted and time served).


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