The Hartford Police Department is highlighting some of their exceptional black officers during Black History Month.
Jennings Road in Hartford was named after Officer Henry Jennings. On May 25, 1964, Jennings made the ultimate sacrifice. He responded to a hotel to try and apprehend a burglary suspect who had already shot at a police officer.
“Jennings and the suspect became engaged in a gunfight. Jennings was mortally wounded. He was able to return fire and injure the suspect who was later apprehended and charged. The suspect was sentenced to life in prison,” said Sgt. Tyrell Jenkins with the Hartford Police Department.
Jenkins has been telling his story and others on social media in an effort to educate people and inspire others to make history.
“Black History isn’t just for this month and it’s not something that just happened in the 40s or even the 60s. It happens every day and there’s people that are making contributions and continue to provide that legacy and bring it forward to the next generation,” Jenkins said.
Major Theodore Napper also has a road in Hartford named after him. Napper was a Tuskegee Airman during World War II. He joined the department in 1946 and was the first African American officer to rise through the ranks being promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, captain and major.
Lemuel Custis was the very first black officer to join the Hartford Police Department and Ella Brown the first female black officer in the state of Connecticut. Brown joined the department in 1943.
Jenkins said these are just a few of the remarkable officers that have protected and served the city over the years and he wants to continue to honor their legacy as well as appreciate the men and women serving today.