the bright blue skies of Father's Day
Sunday, the Kansas City Police Historical
Society began its step into history.
After months of research, the founding
members of the society diligently researched
one particular past member of our police
department. Their goal was to identify
and locate as much history as possible
about the member. His name was William
F. Davis, the first African-American
officer appointed to the department.
Officer Davis joined the department
in 1874, the same year the police department
came into existence under Chief Thomas
M. Speers. Until now historians had
claimed that at least two other black
officers- Lafayette Tillman and Robert
Alexander were the first African-Americans.
However a line-by-line search of the
city register from 1874 and a 1878 K.C.
Times newspaper, revealed William F.
"Bill" Davis was a "colored"
policeman for fifteen years. He died
in 1891 at age 48 from liver complications.
To honor Officer Davis, the Kansas
City Police Historical Society dedicated
the below marker at his gravesite, located
at the Elmwood Cemetery (Truman and
Van Brunt) on June 19, 2005 so future
generations will know who he was and
why his legacy was important to the
history of this department.