Researching Officer Haynes
If you ask long-time Lorain residents who was the first Black police officer in the city, many will name Officer David Wrice. His 33-year tenure with the Lorain Police Department has received much-deserved honor through the dedication of David Wrice Day (June 20) and David Wrice Way (E. 23rd Street).
But while organizing photos in our archive, we found this one of the Lorain police force in 1923 and to our surprise...it includes a Black uniformed officer. Here is what we've learned so far...
George Haynes was appointed to the Lorain Police force in December of 1920. From 1921 through at least 1924, he lived with his wife Vesta at 1317 W. 9th Street. He was also selected to chair an all-Black veteran's league.
Police historians say it is likely that in the early 1920's Officer Haynes would not have been given the same jurisdiction and authority as the white officers. In that era, Police Departments in areas like ours were beginning to embrace "community policing" and would appoint officers of color to police communities of color only. However, Lorain news articles seem to indicate that Officer Haynes patrolled alongside white officers and responded to incidents involving white people in Lorain. There is still much to learn.
By 1926, Mr. Haynes no longer shows up in the Lorain directory. He is listed in the1930 census in Cleveland, working as a manager at a gas station.
Lorain newspaper articles that mention Officer Haynes are referenced below. If you have any information about George Haynes or his descendants, please contact us.
“Colored Man is Made Patrolman”, Lorain Times-Herald, December 6, 1920, Page 1.
“Three Collisions Mark Weekend”, The Lorain Journal, December 11, 1922, Page2.
“Detective Shot Down in Wild Gun Battle”, The Lorain Journal, November 21, 1923, Page 1.
“13 Arrests Made in Weekend Clean-Up Raids”, The Lorain Journal, February 4, 1924, Page 1.
“Colored Vets Plan to Form Legion Branch”, The Lorain Journal, February 4, 1926, Page 2.
“Unveil Legion Charter Sunday”, The Lorain Journal, March 26, 1926, Page 1.
“Glimpses of the Past”, The Lorain Journal, December 4, 1945, Page 4