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Sun, 10.01.1939

Riley Gilchrist, Policeman and Community Activist born

Reiley Gilchrist

*Riley Gilchrist was born on this date in 1939. He was a Black police officer.

From Minneapolis, he was the son of Doris and Riley Gilchrist Sr. In 1957; he had three younger brothers and two sisters; Wendell, Gary, Jay Helen, and Diane. He graduated from Minneapolis Central H. S. In 1970, he became a Minneapolis officer, working in south Minneapolis and later for the juvenile division. When he began as one of six Black officers on the force, Gilchrist offered advice on how to police Black neighborhoods, including "talking with the kids on the street corner" and having officers more involved in the community. 

Gilchrist married his wife Judy during this time. He experienced name-calling from Black youths and felt the distrust of white officers. The force adjusted, and late in his career, Gilchrist said, "In the heat of the moment, the people don't see you; all they see is blue." He stayed with the force until 1993, serving the community as an MPD officer for 23 yrs. Continued to serve as an investigator for the HC Public Defenders office for ten more yrs. He was a mentor to children in the community as a youth football coach and a sponsor for the Fairway Foundation, introducing youth to golf. Riley

Gilchrist died on November 6, 2005. "He always tried to do right," said former Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza, who lamented the difficulty in recruiting Black officers and praised Gilchrist for his effort. He is survived by his wife, Judy; sons Jeffrey of Burnsville and Shaun of Grenada Hills, Calif.; daughter Alyson Nelson of Apple Valley. 

To Become a Policeman or Detective

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

To be a Negro on a day like this Demands forgiveness. Bruised with blow on blow, Betrayed, like him whose woe dimmed eyes gave bliss, Still must one succor... AT THE CLOSED GATE OF JUSTICE by James David Corrothers.
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