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Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department

In office
August 27, 1983 (August 27, 1983) – November 1, 1987 (November 1, 1987)
Mayor Harold Washington
Preceded by James E. O'Grady (interim)
Succeeded by LeRoy Martin
Personal details
Born December 24, 1926
Chicago, Illinois
Died January 10, 2011 (age 84)
Palos Heights, Illinois
Spouse(s) Thelma Dean Martin[1]
Children 2 (including Judith)
Alma mater Roosevelt University
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1950–1952
Battles/wars

Fred Rice, Jr. was the a law enforcement agent who served as head of the Chicago Police Department between the from 1983 through 1987. He was the first black head of the Chicago Police Department.[2][3]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Rice was born December 24, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Leola Mosely and Fred Rice, Sr.[4][5]

Rice was raised in Chicago, attending John Farren Elementary School, Edward Hartigan Elementary School, and DuSable Leadership Academy.[4]

Rice served in the United States Army for two years in the Korean War, from 1950 to 1952.[3][6] He received two battle stars, a combat infrantry badge, and special commendation from the government of South Korea.[6]

Rice worked for the Chicago Post Office before he passed the Chicago Park District Police Examination in 1955.[4]

Police career[edit | edit source]

In 1955, Rice took a job as a patrol officer in the Chicago Park District police force, which was merged with the Chicago Police Department in 1959, at which time he joined the Chicago Police Department.[3][6]

During his time as a police, Rice received undergraduate and master's degree from Roosevelt University, and also graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Federal Executive Institute.[3][4]

Rice rose up the ranks of the police department.[3] He was promoted to the role of sergeant, and later to the role of civil service captain.[4]

By 1983, he was the department's chief of patrol.[3]

Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department[edit | edit source]

On August 27, 1983, Rice was appointed Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department by Harold Washington, first black mayor of Chicago, who had only been sworn-in as mayor months earlier.[2][5][7] The department was overwhelming white.[2] Rice was the first black person to serve as permanent head of the Chicago Police Department (before him, Samuel Nolan had served a few weeks as interim superintendent in 1979).[3]

Washington sought to see the department reformed, including ending the de facto racial segregation within the force.[2] Rice's efforts to implement integration within the police patrols was met with resistance from rank-and-file officers, who protested by slowing down ticket-writing.[2] With the backing of the mayor, Rice stood up to this resistance.[2]

Rice was named in a number of lawsuits where former ranking white officers alleged discrimination, arguing that they had been demoted because they were white and had politically opposed Harold Washington.[3] However, Rice, was cleared in courts of any wrongdoing.[3]

Rice's tenure saw a decrease in the departments use of firearms, and a decrease in the number of disorderly conduct arrests, which had been considered a cause of tension between the police and the populations of minority neighborhoods.[2]

Rice was a founding member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.[3][4]

Rice retired as superintendent effective November 1, 1987.[5][7] This was the end of his 32 year career as a police officer.[7]

Subsequent career[edit | edit source]

Rice served as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at the University of Illinois from 1990 to 2001.[4][6]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Rice and his wife Thelma Rice (née Martin) had two children, a son named Lyle and a daughter named Judith.[1][4][8] Rice and his wife were married for 55 years until his death.[8]

Death[edit | edit source]

In 2001, Rice was diagnosed with lung cancer.[8] After an almost ten-year long battle with the cancer, Rice died January 10, 2011 at ManorCare Health Services in Palos Heights, Illinois.[3][4][5][8]

Rice was buried at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

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