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Sesquicentennial Minute: Horace Shelby was the Springs’ first Black officer, was a founding member of CSPD

Photo: Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Photo: Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Photo: Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado Springs' first Black police officer made a tremendous impact on the city during its infancy. He created a legacy that lives on to this day. And it started decades earlier than you may think.

Horace Shelby was a founding member of the Colorado Springs Police Department. With just eight men, Shelby joined the inaugural force in 1887. A remarkable story considering it was during the early years of Jim Crow.

"I'm not sure if I would be here if not for Horace in 1887," said Mary Rosenoff, CSPD commander of the Stetson Hills Division.

Shelby was an asset to the department and the city in which he served. He worked 12-hour days, making 3,500 arrests over his career, never missing a day of work.

"He did rise, in terms of seniority, to be the top officer here in Colorado Springs. He also served here 22 years and ... he was the first officer to receive retirement," said Rosenoff.

Shelby was the first CSPD officer to serve more than 20 years and was the first to receive a pension.

Today there is a park named after Shelby in Colorado Springs located at 6442 Summit Peak Drive.

Sesquicentennial Minute is a summer series produced by KRDO's Josh Helmuth in celebration of Colorado Springs' 150th birthday, commemorated on July 31, 2021.

Josh Helmuth

Josh is an anchor for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Josh here.

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