Atlanta’s first African American police chief dead at 81

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department lost one of its history-makers Friday. Former Police Chief George Napper Jr. was Atlanta’s first African American Police Chief. He died at his home Friday at 81-years-old.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called Napper a brilliant teacher and leader in a statement issued Saturday.

“A brilliant teacher and leader, Chief George Napper broke barriers and embodied the progress of our city during a long and distinguished career with the Atlanta Police Department,” Bottoms said. “The City of Atlanta is thankful for the service and commitment of Chief George Napper and we offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

The City Council also released a statement, calling Napper a trailblazer.

“George Napper exemplified the best of law enforcement in our city. As Atlanta’s first African American police chief, he was a trailblazer and showed his commitment to our city every day in his service and the role he played in many significant investigations. Chief Napper was a friend, role model, and mentor to people throughout our community and he will be remembered very fondly. We join family and friends in honoring his life and commemorating his enduring legacy,” the statement said.

Napper served as police chief from 1978 to 1982 and was then named director of public safety.

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