Leroy Stover

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Leroy Stover (born c. 1934) was the first African-American to serve as an officer of the Birmingham Police Department.

Stover grew up in Dallas County, was valedictorian of his high school class and editor of the school newspaper. He served in the U.S. Army and is a combat veteran of the Korean War.

He was hired in 1966 and reported for duty on March 30 of that year. He was shunned and verbally abused by other officers. Chief Jamie Moore even assigned older personnel to guard his safety. One of his first assignments was to go undercover to investigate illegal shot houses. Someone with access to his personnel files distributed his photograph to the shot house owners beforehand in an apparent attempt to place him in danger.

Stover survived the ordeal and, after being transferred to the West Precinct, earned more respect from fellow officers. When he was barred from borrowing study materials for advancement tests, his fellow officers checked them out in their names so that he could use them. He advanced to sergeant in four years, then lieutenant, and then captain. He went on to complete a bachelor's degree in criminal justice at UAB. He was promoted as far as Deputy Chief before retiring from the department in 1998.

In March 2015 the new building for the Birmingham Police Department West Precinct office at Five Points West was dedicated in honor of Stover.

References

  • Powell, Bessie Stover (2013) Leroy Stover, Birmingham, Alabama's First Black Policeman: An Inspirational Story. Xulon Press. ISBN 9781625097156
  • Robinson, Carol (March 16, 2015) "Long-awaited police West Precinct opens; dedicated to first black officer." The Birmingham News