Funeral held for 1 of first black Miami police officers

Published On: Mar 28 2013 01:58:48 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 07:37:44 PM EDT

A funeral was held Thursday for one of the first African-Americans officers in the Miami Police Department.

MIAMI -

A funeral was held Thursday for one of the first African-Americans officers in the Miami Police Department.

Hundreds of people showed up to the funeral of Leroy Smith at St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Overtown.

Smith joined the Miami Police Department in the 1950s. He was promoted to sergeant in 1955, became the first black lieutenant in 1966, and the first black major in 1974, according to Black Police Precinct designation report.

READ: Black Police Precinct designation report

Smith began an effort to use portable radios in the department, making it the first in the southeast to do so, according to The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida.

Smith eventually retired as a major following a 27-year law enforcement career.

The World War II veteran also served as a Boy Scout leader at the church.

Smith graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1944 and attended Hampton Institute, where he majored in architecture and engineering.

The Miami native was born in 1926. He is survived by his daughter.

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