Black History Month: Newville Police Chief

As part of Black History Month, News 4 is celebrating local heroes who are making history right here in the Wiregrass.

News 4's Deborah Tuff followed a small town police chief who says as the first and only black chief in Henry County, his love for his job keeps him from retiring.

Newville Police Chief Ward Graham says he's been doing his job for a long time, and at 71-years-old, he says he's not going anywhere.

He’s the main reason a 16-year-old suspect was caught, after satanic symbols were painted on buildings and a historical sight in Newville last December.

And, as Newville Police Chief Ward Graham writes a ticket to a driver who wasn't wearing his seatbelt, he says what he does is all in a days work. "I love the job,” he says. “I love the peoples, and yes, at my age I should retire, I think about retiring. But on the other hand, my health is good; I'm not taking any kind of medications."

The 71-year-old married grandfather and father of five began his career in 1971 as an Abbeville police officer.

As the first African American in the department, he moved up the ranks and later worked for the Henry County Sheriff's Office. Fourteen years ago, he was hired as a chief in Newville, again, the first African American in all of Henry County.

However, when the chief isn't patrolling the streets, he's spending time with his family; a family who says their proud of him. "It makes me feel good, real proud of him. It makes me want to support him even more," says Ward Graham, Jr.

Meanwhile, the chief says he hopes to be remembered for one thing, "I want them to say, I treated them as if they were human. Treated them the way I wanted to be treated and that way I can go home and sleep at night,” he said.

Chief Graham says it was hard for him when he first began, but the leadership at the time encouraged him to keep going.

Chief Graham is the only officer in Newville.