Birmingham’s First Black Police Officer, Leroy Stover, Dies At 90
Leroy Stover was a staple in the Birmingham Police Department for over 30 years.
The police department in Birmingham, Alabama, is honoring a fallen member of its force. Leroy Stover, the city’s first Black police officer, died on Nov. 2 at the age of 90. His passing was announced via X post by the Birmingham police.
Stover was a pioneer in law enforcement, joining the force in 1966 as a 33-year-old man during the Civil Rights Movement.
Today, our hearts are heavy as we morn the loss of former Deputy Chief Leory Stover. As the first black officer to integrate the Birmingham force, his legacy and work at the Birmingham Police Department paved a way for others to follow in his footsteps. pic.twitter.com/5tbk6RB2dS— Bhampolice (@BhamPolice) November 3, 2023
“Today, our hearts are heavy as we [mourn] the loss of former Deputy Chief [Leroy] Stover,” shared the department in multiple posts. “As the first black officer to integrate the Birmingham force, his legacy and work at the Birmingham Police Department paved a way for others to follow in his footsteps. We offer our full condolences to the family and know that he would forever be in our hearts and[ minds].”
Stover was a native of Selma, Alabama, who graduated at the top of his high school class in 1952 and joined the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. Upon becoming a member of the Birmingham Police Department, Stover initially faced discrimination and isolation from his new co-workers but continued on his career journey and rose in rank. During his 32 years of service, the pioneer’s hard work led to his promotion to deputy chief in 1992 before his retirement six years later.
The second Black police officer in Birmingham, Johnnie Johnson, joined a day after him. Johnson eventually became the first Black police chief in the department’s history, appointing Stover to his highest role in the force. Stover’s long-lasting legacy of service and dedication to his community led his niece to publish a book on his life titled, Leroy Stover, Birmingham, Alabama’s First Black Policeman: An Inspirational Story.
Stover leaves an impact that commemorates his work in law enforcement, including the naming of the renovated West Precinct in his honor in March 2015. The Birmingham Police department further celebrated his legacy in 2021 by restating his message that embodied his spirit: “You live right, treat people right, right will follow you.”
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