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Dayton honors memory of first black officer

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    Dayton Police Chief Derek Woods presents a badge and United States flag flown over the Capitol to Hurley Provost’s widow Bernice, and their daughter Loretta Chapman, as Will Carter from U.S. Rep. Brian Babin’s office looks on at the Monday, July 18 Dayton City Council meeting.

A very special presentation was made to the family of the late Hurley Provost, the first black police officer in the City of Dayton, at Monday night’s Dayton City Council meeting. 

Chief Derek Woods made the presentation honoring Provost, who passed away on June 25, 2022, at the age of 88.

“He was a longtime member of the Dayton Police Department and also served with other law enforcement agencies in the area with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, with over 40 years of service, and 20 of those were with the city of Dayton,” said Woods.

Provost served the citizens of Dayton from Sept. 20, 1967, until June 10, 1987, and remained a resident of the city along with his widow, Bernice Provost, who was on hand with their daughter, Loretta Chapman, to accept the honor.

Will Carter, with U.S. Rep. Brian Babin’s office, joined Woods as they presented Provost’s family with a flag that flew over the United States Capitol building, as well as a police badge to commemorate his service.

Carter then read a certificate from Babin in honor of the local law enforcement officer.

“The accompanying flag was flown over the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to honor the life and legacy of a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and lawman of four decades with service to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and Dayton Police Department.” 

Woods learned of the passing and historical impact of Provost from city councilman Dwight Pruitt.

“He was just a great guy and outstanding citizen of Dayton that served this community for many years,” said Pruitt.

Pruitt was proud of the impact Provost had on the Dayton community, especially his mark on the black community and how he interacted with the kids.

“He did whatever he could for anyone in the community, and he never forgot about law enforcement, even after retirement,” said Pruitt.

That relationship was significant for Provost, according to Pruitt. It was most apparent in the bond between him and the late Pete Douzat, who served the Dayton community as an officer and chief of police.