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Becoming A Sergeant


Samuel J. Battle had a goal of becoming a supervisor. At that time. the only school available for preparation was Delehanty. In his Battle memoirs, he believed that it was his courageous act of saving Officer Hayes from being killed in the "Straw Hat Riot," that changed the minds of the administration. In other words, he won the respect of his fellow white officers as they voted unanimously to admit Battle.

Battle recounted his experience studying while in exile. He said,
"Alone in the loft, I could kneel quietly at prayer before going to sleep; talking with God for strength to carry on."

When his name came up, he was passed over three times for promotion, although he scored high on the exams. People thought that they would never let a Black man be a supervisor over white police officers.

However, after a new police commissioner was appointed (George V. McLaughlin) on May 19, 1926, shield number 602 was given to Sgt. Samuel J. Battle. In the book, One Righteous Man, it said,
"These men who would not speak with him today as an equal, would answer to him tomorrow as a superior."

To read more about this and other stories, check out One Righteous Man by Arthur Browne.
To read more about this and other stories, check out The Black Shields by Roger L. Abel.

Becoming A Sergeant

#110Battle Stories

View other stories told by today's police

In collaboration with the Black Police Experience (BPX) and the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc (NABLEO), we want to commemorate the heroics of Samuel J. Battle by asking black law enforcement to share their stories.  If you find a story on the Battle Continues.. timeline that you can relate to, please share.  


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Our timeline of untold stories is a collection of black law enforcement stories that will serve to illustrate their lived experiences and the need to transform police policies, practices, and consciousness. The Battle begins with Samuel J. Battle but continues as we commemorate the 110th year of blacks in law enforcement in NYC. Submit your story and help to create a pathway to justice.


Your story will contribute to the timeline, we will not display your name and we reserve the right to display the information that you provide. All submissions may not be used at this time and those selected will receive confirmation.

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Becoming A Sergeant

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