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Denver Police Department has a history of hiring black officers dating back to the late 1800's

Diversity in the Denver Police Department is not a new concept. The city's first black officer, Isaac Brown, joined the force in 1880.

Information about Denver’s first black police officer, Isaac Brown, has Denver Police Department Sergeant Dean Christopherson scratching his head.

“Isaac Brown was elected in April 15 of 1880, which was something relatively new that you had to be elected to the office of police officer,” Christopherson said. “At the early turn of the last century, there were fires at City Hall around 1900, there were various floods from Cherry Creek which wiped out records and a lot of them were just discarded because you can’t keep everything forever.”

Credit: Byron Reed

Christopherson is the President of the Denver Police Museum and preserving the station’s history has taught him a lesson about the department’s nearly 160 years of integration.

“When you go back and you delve into history and you see the stories of some of these men and women that came up through and blazed a path for a lot of the modern officers we have today,” Christopherson said.

Brown served as an officer for 10 years in what, at the time, was a relatively small department. With the population changing post-civil war, emancipated slaves came out to the great west.

Credit: Byron Reed

“When it came time for him to be nominated to the position of police officer, to reflect the ever-growing black community in Denver…he was almost a shoe-in,” said Christopherson.

Brown passed away in 1917 and there’s not much more known about him. That’s why Christopherson is looking for more information about him and others who protected and served.

“It’s fascinating to see some of those stories,” Christopherson said. “These guys weathered through it, they persevered and kept on going, (and) the city and county of Denver owes a great amount of gratitude to some of these pioneers.”

Credit: Byron Reed

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