In celebration of Black History Month, the Cambridge Police Department is proud to showcase its rich history of African American officers.
In April 1884, Mayor James Fox nominated Frederick A. Robinson to become the first African American police officer in the City of Cambridge. When the department reorganized in 1904, Mayor Augustine J. Daly promoted him to the rank of Sergeant. Sergeant Robinson worked in Harvard Square until 1914, when he retired after 30 years of service.
On April 1, 1915, Officer Herbert Halliday became the first African American officer to be hired under civil service. In 1921, Officer Halliday rescued seven people, two brothers, and five members of the Duane family from a burning building located at 303 River Street.
Officer Calvin Kantor, Sr. (left) was appointed to the Cambridge Police Department in 1963 and promoted to Sergeant in 1975. He was the department's first African American to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1983 and in 1992 the first to be promoted to Superintendent. His son, Calvin Kantor, Jr. recently retired from the Cambridge Police Department, while his other son, Frederick Kantor, and daughter-in-law, Evelyn Kantor-Lugo, are currently serving as officers with the Cambridge Police Department.
Perry Anderson became the first African American head of the Cambridge Police Department in May 1991, when he was appointed the department's first Police Commissioner. During his tenure, Anderson implemented the first command staff in the department's history and the creation of community-oriented policing in the city, He retired from the department in December 1995.
Christine Elow became the highest ranking female officer in the history of the Cambridge Police Department in 2017, when she was appointed the department's first female Superintendent. Raised in Cambridge, Superintendent Elow has been with the Cambridge Police Department for more than 20 years. She previously served as Deputy Superintendent for Day Patrol and Community Services.
Dr. Branville Bard, Jr. became the City of Cambridge Police Department’s fourth and current Police Commissioner in August 2017. Prior to leading the Cambridge Police Department, Bard served as the Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety of the Philadelphia Housing Authority Police Department. He began his law enforcement career as a member of the Philadelphia Police Department where he proudly served for nearly 22 years before retiring at the rank of Inspector. Commissioner Bard is a reform-minded pracademic, heavily influenced by social and procedural justice movements. He is a subject matter expert on racial profiling and frequently lectures on the topic. During his career, he has been the recipient of many departmental and community service-related awards and citations
In 2020, Cambridge African-American Police Association (CAAP) was reestablished by members of the Cambridge Police Department to continue the legacy left by officers of the Cambridge Multi-Cultural Police Association and the Cambridge Afro-American Police Association. The mission is to improve relations with the community and law enforcement through engagement and partnership, and to retain and increase African-American interest and diversity in the law enforcement profession. It provides camaraderie and supports officer wellness and professional development, and advocates for social/racial justice, equality, and fairness.