Orange County

Who were Richard Jones and Belvin Perry Sr., Orlando’s first Black police officers?

ORLANDO, Fla. — A monument stands in Washington Shores to Lt. Richard Jones and Officer Belvin Perry Sr., Orlando’s first Black police officers.

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Both men began their law enforcement careers in 1951, more than a decade before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


They patrolled the streets in secondhand cars, with no guns and without police radios to call for backup.

Officials have said they could issue arrests, but if the suspect was white, they weren’t allowed to take them to jail.

Orlando police said Jones, the first Black officer hired by the department, was known as a risk-taker. He served from 1951 to 1976.

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Jones wasn’t allowed to patrol the streets alone, so a few months later, the department hired Perry.

Perry was the second Black officer hired by the police department and is also the father of Belvin Perry Jr., the former chief judge of Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit.

Family has said the two men could only patrol on foot from Conley and Parramore east on Church Street to their division’s headquarters, armed with just a nightstick and handcuffs.

The pair paved the way for other officers of color to join the force.

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Family members have said the legacy of their bravery lives on as an example not only to their children, but the whole department.

The memorial to the two officers can be found in Washington Shores at Hankins Circle and Wooden Boulevard.

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