ORLANDO, Fla. — A monument honoring the legacies of the first two Black Orlando police officers is looking brand-new thanks to the work of Orlando police, Commissioner Bakari Burns, the Keep Orlando Beautiful team and an local resident.
About two weeks ago, a Washington Shores resident reached out to Orlando police and its Neighborhood Patrol Unit about cleaning the monument.
The monument honors the legacies of officers Robert Jones and Belvin Perry, Sr.
The police department said Jones was known as a risk-taker. He was the first Black officer hired by the Orlando Police Department. He served from 1951 to 1976 and retired at the rank of lieutenant.
Perry also served in law enforcement as one of the first two Black officers to be hired by the police department. He is also the father of Belvin Perry, Jr., the former chief judge of Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit.
When Jones and Perry began their careers in 1951 they had secondhand cars and no radios. They could issue arrests, but if the suspect was white, they weren’t allowed to take them to jail, Rep. Val Demings said.
“Thanks to the dedicated officers of the Orlando Police Department for partnering with Ms. Isom of Washington Shores to clean an important monument in our community that honors the first two Black police officers at OPD,” said Burns. “Our community is only as strong as its residents, and we’re grateful to have such dedicated neighbors.”