Retired officer honored for decades of service

Charles Scriven paved the way for other police officers in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Charles Scriven is a retired policeman from the Jacksonville Police Department -- the predecessor of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He fought for equality for both himself and others and rose through the ranks to be the department’s first African-American chief.

On Saturday, Scriven was honored by the Brotherhood of Police Officers, a minority organization established in 1979 to make sure all police officers are treated equally.

Scriven, 86, had a lot of memorable moments after being hired in 1955.

“We had limitations and part of the problem was removing some of those limitations so you could do your job,” Scriven said.


Though segregation and racism made it difficult for him to do his job, he was relentless and became the first African-American division chief, paving the way for other officers such as Nathaniel Glover, who would go on to be sheriff, and Ken Jefferson, now retired and the crime and safety expert for News4Jax.

“The fact that today we still stand on his shoulders,” Jefferson said.

Glover agreed that Scriven had quite an impact.

“A person who was a good representative, period, for the city,” he said. “A person who was respected by his peers.”

Decades later, Scriven has a message for all police officers.

“Be faithful, honest-working citizens,” he said. “Those who are bad apples, deal with them. Law enforcement is an honorable position.”

Earlier this year, Scriven was given a formal apology from the Fraternal Order of Police after he had been denied membership for 40 years because he was African-American. Years after he applied, he was given membership in 1996, but not told until years later.

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