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Baltimore’s First African-American Police Commissioner Dies At 86

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Bishop Robinson

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The first African-American police commissioner in Baltimore City has died. Bishop Robinson was 86.

Robinson joined the city police department in 1952, rising all the way up to commissioner in 1984.

Following his time as commissioner, he worked in the cabinet for both governors William Donald Schaefer and Parris Glendening.

In a statement, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, “I was saddened to learn of former Police Commissioner Bishop Robinson’s passing today. Bishop was a great friend, and someone on whom I could rely to impart sage advice, especially to a young public official just starting out. This is a man whose life should be celebrated for tearing down barriers by climbing his way to the top of an organization that historically treated African-Americans with disrespect and derision. But Commissioner Robinson’s palpable presence made him a force to be reckoned with. He worked his way up through the police department, step by step, becoming the first African-American to command the Patrol division, then the first to command the whole force as Commissioner. The trail he cut for many that came after him will be one that should never be forgotten. Bishop Robinson will be dearly missed.”

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown also offered words of condolences.

“I’m saddened to hear of the passing of Bishop Lee Robinson,” a statement from Brown reads. “Mr. Robinson exemplified what it means to live a life of service as Baltimore’s first African-American police commissioner, a Maryland cabinet secretary and a teacher at the University of Baltimore. Today we have lost a trailblazer whose determination to make our streets safer was matched only by his passion for public service. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they grieve his loss and celebrate his life.”

Funeral arrangements are still pending.

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