Legacies: Miami's former Black police chiefs

admin | 12/14/2011, 7:30 a.m.

Some may wonder if the City of Miami is ready for a Black police chief, but such a move would not be without precedence. There have already been three Black police chiefs in our city's history. Clarence Dickson, the first black chief of the department, was appointed in January 1985 and resigned in 1988. Later his assistant, Perry Anderson, replaced him. Then in 1994, current Florida A&M University Police ChiefCalvin Ross took over and remained in office for just under four years. Anderson, 67, recalls his tenure as Miamis second Black chief, from 1988-1991. I felt obligated to provide the kind of service to the community that may have been neglected by other chiefs that werent Black, he said. I sort of had that commitment to the community to provide quality service. Anderson, who grew up in Miami and went to school in Coconut Grove, said it was an honor to serve the community in which he was raised. I basically felt that when I came up and went to school, the communities were basically segregated, he said. To grow up going to an all-Black school and end up being the chief of police of a large city like Miami was a great feeling. I think that they [the Black community] demanded much more of me and the previous chief, and rightfully so. I think that there was a feeling of neglect in the Black community as we had just come off of a lot of civil disturbances [Miamis race riots, often referred to as the McDuffie Riots, occurred in May 1980] and there was a major concern about equality and the treatment of Blacks in the community. After leaving the Miami Police Department, Anderson held several other jobs including the director of campus and community services at Miami-Dade College. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com