New Castle County’s first African American police officer was honored with a dedication ceremony at the county’s public safety building, today.
At the urging of Joseph Bryant, Jr., director of Public Safety, County Executive Tom Gordon agreed to rename the county police department’s first floor conference room after Retired Corporal Robert Snow.
Gordon served with Snow as officers of the New Castle County Police Department.
“He is a great man. When one reads Corporal Snow’s biography, it does not take long to be impressed,” Gordon said. “He was an excellent, hard-working police officer who began his career during a difficult era in our nation’s history.”
Snow was hired on September 11, 1968, just months after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time, the relationship between African Americans and police was tumultuous, and made worse as violent riots took place in Wilmington.
In spite of that, Corporal Snow continued with his career in law enforcement and remained the only black police officer for the first five years of his career. He eventually retired on October 3, 1988 and made history again by being the first African American to complete 20 years of service upon his retirement.
“When one considers the struggles of minorities throughout our history, Corporal Snow is a shining example of how a man of courage and conviction could have a stellar career in law enforcement despite the odds,” said Chief of Staff Samuel Guy , who’s known in Delaware for his work in civil rights.
Officer Robert Snow was promoted to the rank of Corporal 13 years later, on September 11, 1981.
During Snow’s career, he received numerous letters of commendation for his actions and service to the residents of New Castle County, like running into a smoke-filled Naamans Road Apartment Complex in March 1976, to rescue several residents.
Snow, who attended the dedication ceremony, lives in Wilmington. He has four children, nine grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.