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IMPD exhibit honors early black officers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – February is Black History Month, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is commemorating its earliest African American officers with a new exhibit.

The installation at their headquarters downtown honors the earliest African American police officers to serve in the city in the 1800s and 1900s.

“I can only imagine what it was like to be a police officer in the 1800s, trying to find your way with nominal resources, and understanding the value of trying to be a stalwart, outward, caring person in a society where they really didn’t appreciate you because of your color,” said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

Cecelia Boler’s great-grandfather was born a slave but went on to join the IMPD. He is being honored with a plaque in the exhibit.

“Just to know that my great grandfather was hired in 1876: you know, what a great legacy and what a wonderful statement about Indianapolis,” said Boler.

It’s the first time IMPD has ever formally recognized its black officers.

The exhibit is open to the public and will run through the end of the month.