Atlanta’s first Black police chief dies at 81

October 3, 2020 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — The first Black police chief of Atlanta has died.

George Napper died Friday. He was 81. A cause of death was not released.

Napper was named chief in 1978 and served in the post until 1982. During his tenure, he restructured the department’s police zones, established field investigation units for each zone, created a White Collar Crime Unit and the Special Investigations Section and prioritized calls for service. He later became the city’s director of public safety.

“George Napper exemplified the best of law enforcement in our city,” the Atlanta City Council said in a statement. “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.”


Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, in a statement, called Napper, “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,” the mayor 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.”

In a message from Napper’s family posted to Pastor Skip Mason’s Vanishing Black Atlanta History Facebook page, at Napper’s own request there will be no funeral or memorial service due to the coronavirus pandemic.