During black history month, the Summit Police Department proudly remembers the contributions and accomplishments of its twelfth police chief, Lonnie Davis, the second African American municipal police chief in Union County history and Summit’s first black chief of police.
Lonnie Davis joined the Police Department as a patrol officer in 1955 and rose through the ranks, becoming a Sergeant in 1968, a Lieutenant in 1978 and a Captain in 1986. He remained at that rank for five years, serving as Operations Division Commander, prior to being appointed Chief of Police in 1993.
Not only did he have an impressive career, but he was also an exemplary member of the community. A lifelong resident of Summit, leaving only for his four years with the Army’s 82nd Airborne, he attended Summit’s public schools, was a member of the Wallace Chapel AME Zion Church, served on the Board of Trustees of the YMCA, was a member of the Rotary Club and former president of the Jaycees. He was also a member of the National Organization of Black Law Executives and a life member of the Police Benevolent Association. He and his wife, Marian Spaulding, raised four sons.
Although Chief Davis died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 60 only three months after he was appointed to the agency’s top post in 1993, it does not diminish his legacy to the City of Summit and to the Police Department where he served faithfully for 38 years. Those who remember Chief Davis, as well as newspaper articles written about him at the time of his death, reveal a man who was universally admired and greatly respected throughout the City of Summit. Chief Davis will continue to be a source of pride to the department and to the entire Summit community.