City Appoints First Black Chief of Police
by Teris Robinson
The City Council of Pensacola consented 7-0 to the appointment of the city’s first African American police chief, David Alexander III, June 16th.
Both Council and community members spoke positively regarding Chief Alexander’s upcoming tenure.
“He not only is qualified to be the chief of police, but he also doubles well as a minister,” said Council member, P.C. Wu. Council member Jewel Cannada Wynn added that, “this is a milestone for the city of Pensacola with which I am very proud. A lot of people say it doesn’t matter but this is very important to me.” Civil rights icon, Rev. H.K. Matthews, traveled from Brewton, Alabama to attend the appointment. ” would not have missed this for the world,” he said.
Alexander opened his monthly crime report with words of gratitude for the council and the citizens of Pensacola. He added a special thank you to his wife, his family, his first grade teacher, his professors at Troy University, and “all who assisted in the preparation for this day.” A native of Pensacola, Chief Alexander began his career with the Pensacola Police Department in 1983. According to fellow African American officer, Doug Baldwin, Alexander worked and became an officer during a time on the force when both of them had to endure hearing Black people being called racial slurs over the police radio. In spite of the described racial climate Alexander was promoted to sergeant in 1993, lieutenant in 1998, then captain in 2002.
As a veteran police officer and community leader, Chief Alexander has participated through the years in many police and community workshops, panel discussions, and task forces that work to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. His past efforts have included supervising the department’s field training program, diligently working for its neighborhood policing division and, most recently, being the only law enforcement from the City or County present during a dialogue on Community and Law Enforcement Relations.
Chief Alexander’s historical achievement rests at the helm of history making which includes himself as the first assistant chief in the Pensacola police departments 194 year history of the leadership, and the now deceased Timothy Poe as the first Black police captain in 1995.
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