Richard E. Hall, an 18-year veteran of the force, became yesterday the first black officer promoted to the rank of captain in the 39-year history of the Howard County Police Department.
"I want to send a message to other officers that it is possible to TTC succeed. The key to everything is preparation," said Captain Hall, 42, who will supervise the 183-member patrol division.
A native of the county, Captain Hall said his career goal had always been to reach the rank of lieutenant, which he did four years ago.
"When I saw that the rank of being a captain was a possibility, I went back to school to get my master's degree," he said. He is close to receiving his master's in business management from the University of Maryland, after receiving a sociology degree from what is now Bowie State University.
Captain Hall said that when he joined the Police Department in 1973, "It was clear that we needed black representation."
"I was the fourth black officer hired, and I saw a chance to do something positive for my life and the community," he recalled. "I care what happens in Howard County. It's my home."
The newly appointed captain will be paid $55,500 a year.