Our History

The Vanguard Justice Society, Inc. Incorporated was founded in 1971 by former Baltimore Police Officer Larry Clark and officially chartered as an organization by retired Lieutenant Melvin Freeman. Both men put their careers in jeopardy to improve working conditions for African American police officers.

In 1973, The Vanguard Justice Society, Inc. Incorporated filed a class action suit against Baltimore, City, the State of Maryland, and the Baltimore Police Department for discrimination in height requirements, promotions, and the hiring of African Americans and other minorities.

The discrimination law suit was argued in U.S. Federal Court for five (5) years. The final ruling was in favor of The Vanguard Justice Society, Inc. Incorporated in 1978 resulting in the following court ordered action:

  • Fifty Two (52) African American officers promoted to the rank of Sergeant
  • Four (4) African American Sergeants promoted to the rank of Lieutenant
  • One (1) white female Sergeant promoted to Lieutenant
  • Two (2) white females promoted to Sergeant
  • Nineteen (19) individuals (primarily females) previously denied employment received monetary awards.

Our purpose is defined in our Mission Statement which is the promotion of justice, fairness and effectiveness in law enforcement and the legality of action taken; to establish and maintain positive relations between the police and the community; to educate police officers with professionalism, pride and sensitivity; to aid in the enlistment of qualified African Americans and other minorities into the law enforcement profession.

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