Remembering Illinois' first fallen black police officer

QUINCY, Ill. (WAND) - An Illinois community is remembering the state's first black police officer to fall in the line of duty.

Local organizations in Quincy worked together to erect a memorial for William H. “Billy” Dallas 142 years later. A memorial was held on Feb. 7 in honor of Dallas at Woodland Cemetery in Quincy. Over 100 people attended.

Dallas was the first African-American police officer to serve in Quincy. Born into slavery in 1844 in South Carolina, Dallas escaped and migrated to Chicago.  Before serving on the police force, Dallas was a veteran of the US Army Civil War. Dallas served in the force in 1874 until his tragic death in 1876.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Officer Dallas was tragically killed in the line of duty while responding to reports of a barn being robbed. He and his partner confronted three men who retaliated by opening fire and shooting Dallas in the face three times. Dallas was taken to his home and treated but died a few hours later.

The three men who shot him were convicted.