First Black Toledo Police Chief Receives Posthumous Award from City


March 11, 2024

He was honored by one of two cities touched by his legacy!

Toledo, Ohio, holds a cherished place in its heart for Derrick W. Diggs, the city’s first Black police chief, who left an incredible mark on the community. In a recent ceremony, the Founder’s Award was posthumously presented to Chief Diggs, a recognition of his groundbreaking contributions and enduring legacy, WTOL reports. His son, Derrick D. Diggs, stood proudly to accept the award on behalf of his late father, ensuring that Chief Diggs’s impact continues to resonate through generations.

It has been more than eight years since Chief Derrick W. Diggs bid farewell to Toledo to begin a new journey as the police chief in Fort Myers, Florida. Although miles away, Chief Diggs remained deeply connected to Toledo, leaving an enduring legacy that transcends geographical boundaries. Derrick D. Diggs, reflecting on his father’s influence, remarked, “He is loved in the Ft. Myers community, still loved here in Toledo. People talk about him all the time.” The sentiment echoes the profound impact Chief Diggs had on both cities and the hearts of those he served.


In 2011, Chief Derrick W. Diggs made history by becoming Toledo’s first Black police chief. The swearing-in ceremony, presided over by Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre, marked a pivotal moment in Chief Diggs’ illustrious 37-year career with the Toledo Police Department. Addressing his colleagues during the ceremony, Chief Diggs declared, “For all of you ex-partners and retirees when you leave here today remember one thing, you’ll be walking with me as I carry this badge as chief of police for the Toledo Police Department.” This proclamation encapsulated Chief Diggs’ commitment to unity and shared responsibility within the police force.

Chief Diggs championed various initiatives during his tenure, with a particular focus on community engagement. One notable program, the Police Athletic League (PAL), aimed to keep kids active and away from the allure of a life of crime. His dedication to creating positive alternatives for Toledo’s youth continued even after his move to Fort Myers in 2016, where he implemented similar successful policies, including the PAL program.

Derrick D. Diggs spoke of his father’s impact in Fort Myers, saying, “And just seeing the children’s lives that he has changed down there, where it gave them an outlet to be able to have a place to go after school or sports, to be able to get affiliated with because of the outreach that he put with that community to give them a place to go, an alternative to crime.”


The legacy of Chief Derrick W. Diggs transcended his professional accomplishments, as he was beloved not only by his family but also by the communities he served. His untimely passing in 2023 left a void that is still felt deeply by his family, the people of Fort Myers, and the Toledo community. As Derrick D. Diggs accepted the posthumous Founder’s Award, the significance of Chief Diggs’ impact on Toledo and Fort Myers was notable. The ceremony served as a reminder of the enduring legacy of Toledo’s first Black police chief, whose dedication to community and service continues to inspire.

Cover photo: First Black Toledo Police Chief Receives Posthumous Award From City / Credit: WFLA

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