Boston's first African American Police Officer was Horatio Julius Homer, appointed in 1878. Homer served at the Commissioner's Office, then housed in Pemberton Square, and on Sundays patrolled on Boylston Street in the Back Bay. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1895 and retired in 1919.
Sergeant Homer was something of a Renaissance man, playing 11 musical instruments and memorizing a poem a day. He maintained friendships with other African American public employees, including judges, federal workers, and state representatives. Together they hosted Frederick Douglass when he visited Boston. Douglass, the iconic social reformer, abolitionist and statesman, famously stated, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” which is a belief shared by our officers who interact with the youth of this city on a daily basis. The Community Room at the new District B-2 station in Roxbury is dedicated to Sergeant Homer.