1867

First African American in Law Enforcement 

Selma, Alabama 

1867

April 15th, 1880

Colorado’s First Black Officer

Isaac Brown (1880-1917)

According to the Denver Police Museum, Isaac Brown was elected in April 15 of 1880. Police officer elections were something relatively new. Officer Brown served the Denver Police Department for 10 years.

Denver Police Museum

April 15th, 1880

1916

First Female Black Officer – Georgia Ann Robinson

Georgia Ann Robinson

Georgia Ann Robinson (1879-1961) 

Georgia Ann Robinson was the first Black female police officer to work for the Los Angeles Police Department. Historians believe she may have been the first Black female law enforcement officer in the country.

Police1

1916

1972

First known Black Officer to Infiltrate the KKK – Ron Stallworth

Ron Stallworth IDsRon Stallworth

Ron Stallworth (1962- )

As the first African American and youngest detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, Ron Stallworth infiltrated the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1944, after retirement, Stallworth published the true story of his undercover investigation of the KKK in his book, Black Klansman. The book reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller’s List.

A film based on the book, went on to be nominated for six Academy Awards, five BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, winning Best Adapted Screenplay at both the Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards. Also, the American Film Institute (AFI) named it one of the Top 10 Movies of the Year for 2018.

RonStallworth.com

1972

1970s

First Black Officer at Colorado State University Police Department

Our CSUPD historian believes the first Black officer was Sandra Brown. She started in the early 1970s.

1970s

June 1988

First Black Commissioner (Chief) of Philadelphia Police

Willie L. Williams (1943-2016)

In June of 1988 Williams took over as Police Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. While in Philadelphia Williams took a strong stance against guns in America supporting the “Brady” bill and other gun control legislation.

June 1988

April 1992

First Black Chief of LAPD

Willie L. Williams (1943-2016)

In April of 1992 Williams is credited with another first when he was appointed as LAPD’s first black Chief.  Williams was brought in to succeed Daryl F. Gates after Gates was unable to restore confidence in the agency following the Rodney G. King beating and subsequent riots. 

April 1992

September 2003

Colorado State University’s First Black Police Chief

Dexter Yarbrough (2003-2009)

Chief Yarbrough served the CSU community for six years. During that time, he was both the Chief and a professor for the university. 

September 2003

CSUPD would like to continue the celebration of Blacks in law enforcement. If you have any additional firsts or further details on the ones we have, please contact us.

CSUPD is a diverse law enforcement agency that celebrates the commitment of all its officers. During Black History Month, CSUPD salutes Black officers those who have served and continue to serve CSUPD and our students, faculty, staff and larger Fort Collins and Northern Colorado community. Those officers are:

Corporal Rodney Smith (1991-2013)
Chief Dexter Yarbrough (2003-2009)
Captain Frank Johnson (2005-Present)
Officer Matt Clark (2007-2012)
Corporal Alisha Zellner (2014-Present)
Officer Al Thompson (2020-Present)