The San Antonio Black Police Officers' Coalition was established in 1984 and was created to combat the unusual obstacles and prejudices confronting minority officers in their attempts to receive equal considerations to advance in rank.
There were a total of 95 black officers serving the communities of San Antonio at the time of The Coalitions’ creation. The Coalition was able to gain recognition by addressing community concerns not normally
addressed by the police department and getting involved with local church functions. The Coalition organized barbecues and invited members of the black communities to join them. The Coalition barbecues were usually held on the East Side of San Antonio with the purpose of introducing black officers to the members of the black community. The Coalition barbecues also helped to generate funds to help grant partial scholarships to high school seniors.
The Coalition teamed with the Black Fire Fighter's Association to start a Christmas Dance. This Christmas Dance venture brought black officers together with black firefighters and helped form a union that strengthened the efforts of both The Coalition and the Black Firefighter's Association to get black officers and firefighters promoted through the ranks of their prospective organizations. During the 1980's, several black officers recognized The Coalition as being instrumental in the officers' obtaining promotions to higher ranks. As the number of black officers hired onto the police department grew, so did the membership and political power of The Coalition.
As with all continuing struggles, new issues arrived. The issue of promotions soon took a back seat to other issues that came about through the changing times. The Rodney King incident, caused The Coalition to be faced with the community problems that were created as a result of the incident, causing the community to lose faith in not only the Black Police Officers' Coalition, but with the police as a whole. The Coalition was faced with the task of restoring the black community's faith in The Coalitions’ ability to look out for their special needs, as well as their well being. With this new task, The Coalition was forced to focus primarily on restoring the public's confidence in the police department's ability to serve and to Protect.
Today, the Coalition continues to exist primarily through the efforts of Sam Moore, Chinee Edwards, Ben Burleson and Harvey Jackson, as they continue to make sure The Coalition was instrumental and involved in granting partial scholarships and being recognized in the communities. Throughout the years, the vision to increase The Coalitions’ membership and to re-establish The Coalition as a viable political entity with a presence in the community has grown. In addition to the Christmas Dance and the barbecue fundraisers, The Coalition created a Juneteenth Mixer, which has been instrumental in raising funds for the Scholarship fund and for victims of unusual hardships. A payroll deduction was also established for membership enrollment, as well as a non-profit tax number, which allows The Coalition to receive donations for the purpose of assisting the communities of San Antonio.
The Coalition is still committed to its initial goals, with new goals in view. Although, the majority of the coalition members are African American officers, its membership is open to all officers of the San Antonio Police Department. The Coalition has established communications with several of its retired members and continues to keep in touch with them. The Coalition currently has an excellent working relationship with the Chief of Police and the current Executive Board of the San Antonio Hispanic Police Officers' Organization, as well as the Executive Board of the San Antonio Police Officers' Association.
The goal of the Executive Board is to bring more positive visibility to The Coalition and to increase its current membership to 100% participation by the African American officers. The Coalition is currently working on establishing a hands on liaison with the local churches, establishing Coalition representatives in each substation, and working station, soliciting businesses for donations into our non-profit fund and obtaining membership into the local NAACP and The National Black Police Association. The dream is alive and well. Now is the time, and we are in place.
We are inviting and encouraging all of the Black Officers to join in with The Coalitions' growth. New ideas and new strength is required to continue The Coalitions' growth. If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please feel free to contact any of the listed Board Members. The torch has been lit and the fire is burning bright.