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The Black Contribution to The Thin Blue Line: Greenburgh’s First African-American Police Officers

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February 6, 2021

In honor of Black History Month, we, the Assistant Town Historians, wanted to show you, our readers the stories of Greenburgh’s first African-American police officers. We would like to examine the lives of the: first black officer in Greenburgh, first black ranking officer in Greenburgh, and the first Community Relations Officer.

By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber with research assistance from Ryan Stuzin

 

Detective Henry Heath:

 Detective Henry Heath was Greenburgh’s first ever African-American police officer. He was appointed to Police Officer on February 1, 1950 and promoted to Detective February 8, 1961 (Personal Communication  from Police Chief Chris McNerney).

 


 

Lieutenant David Robinson:

Lieutenant David Robinson was the first African-American ranking officer in Greenburgh. He was born in 1924 (https://www.ancestry.com/1940-census/usa/New-York/David-Robinson_fqb84). He was appointed to Police Officer on November 1, 1950 and promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 1968. In 1971, he earned the rank of Lieutenant (Personal Communication from Police Chief Chris McNerney).

 


 

Detective Eddie Ponder:

 He was appointed to Police Officer on February 1, 1953 and promoted to Detective on January 14, 1969. Later he was named as the first Community Relations Officer (Personal Communication from Police Chief Chris McNerney).

 

About the authors:

We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.

Riley Wentzler:

I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94.  It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me atassistanthistorian@greenburghny.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at rjwentzler413@gmail.com

Felicia Barber:

I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me atassistanthistorian@greenburghny.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me atfeliciadbarber@gmail.com.

Volunteer – Research Assistant – Ryan Stuzin:

I was born and raised in Scarsdale, New York. I am a senior at Edgemont High School, where I am captain of the varsity ski and golf teams. I also cover the ski team for the Scarsdale Inquirer. I have been a volunteer junior ski patroller at Stratton Mountain in Vermont and founded the Red Cross Club at my high school. I will be attending Colgate University in the fall, with a plan to study political science and/or history and eventually go to law school. I participated in the Town of Greenburgh internship program last summer, which inspired me to learn more about our town and its government. That, coupled with my love of history, is what prompted me to reach out to Riley and Felicia to help them with their articles about the history of Greenburgh.

References:

 Ancestry. (1997-2021, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). David Robinson in the 1940 Census. Retrieved from ancestry.com: https://www.ancestry.com/1940-census/usa/New-York/David-Robinson_fqb84

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of Black History Month, we, the Assistant Town Historians, wanted to show you, our readers the stories of Greenburgh’s first African-American police officers. We would like to examine the lives of the: first black officer in Greenburgh, first black ranking officer in Greenburgh, and the first Community Relations Officer.

 

The Black Contribution to The Thin Blue Line: Greenburgh’s First African – American Police Officers

By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber with research assistance from Ryan Stuzin

 

A framed picture of a person Description automatically generated with low confidence

 

Detective Henry Heath:

 

Detective Henry Heath was Greenburgh’s first ever African-American police officer. He was appointed to Police Officer on February 1, 1950 and promoted to Detective February 8, 1961 (Personal Communication  from Police Chief Chris McNerney).

 

A portrait of a person Description automatically generated with medium confidence

 

Lieutenant David Robinson:

 

Lieutenant David Robinson was the first African-American ranking officer in Greenburgh. He was born in 1924 (https://www.ancestry.com/1940-census/usa/New-York/David-Robinson_fqb84). He was appointed to Police Officer on November 1, 1950 and promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 1968. In 1971, he earned the rank ofLieutenant (Personal Communication from Police Chief Chris McNerney).

 

A person wearing a hat Description automatically generated with low confidence

 

Detective Eddie Ponder:

 

He was appointed to Police Officer on February 1, 1953 and promoted to Detective on January 14, 1969. Later he was named as the first Community Relations Officer (Personal Communication from Police Chief Chris McNerney).

 

a_slice_of_history.jpg

 

Previous Slices of History include:

 

 

About the Authors:

 

We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.

 

Riley Wentzler:

I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94.  It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me atassistanthistorian@greenburghny.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at rjwentzler413@gmail.com

 

Felicia Barber:

I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me atassistanthistorian@greenburghny.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me atfeliciadbarber@gmail.com.

 

 

Volunteer – Research Assistant – Ryan Stuzin:

I was born and raised in Scarsdale, New York. I am a senior at Edgemont High School, where I am captain of the varsity ski and golf teams. I also cover the ski team for the Scarsdale Inquirer. I have been a volunteer junior ski patroller at Stratton Mountain in Vermont and founded the Red Cross Club at my high school. I will be attending Colgate University in the fall, with a plan to study political science and/or history and eventually go to law school. I participated in the Town of Greenburgh internship program last summer, which inspired me to learn more about our town and its government. That, coupled with my love of history, is what prompted me to reach out to Riley and Felicia to help them with their articles about the history of Greenburgh.

 

 

Two Interviews with the authors:

 

https://riverjournalonline.com/around-town/a-love-of-history-and-each-other/13708/

 

https://wcbs880.radio.com/articles/news/stories-main-street-couple-cerebral-palsy-brings-manytalents-town-greenburgh

 

References:

 

Ancestry. (1997-2021, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). David Robinson in the 1940 Census. Retrieved from ancestry.com: https://www.ancestry.com/1940-census/usa/New-York/David-Robinson_fqb84

 

 

 

It is dark early! When walking at night wear reflectors. Wear bright clothing. Bring a flashlight so motorists can see you.

2 Public Service Announcements below produced by Greenburgh students!  Free reflectors at Greenburgh Town Hall lobby

https://youtu.be/B9tV5tpb6_o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hke7XQI1O7U&list=UUs3IDJeTXOamOtelEjcv4Bg

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