COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The city of Columbus adding big names to its hall of fame.
One of those four people being former Columbus Police Chief James G Jackson.
Jackson is now 86-years-young. He served 51 years on the police force and spent 19 of those years as chief of police.
“I wanted to become a police officer basically all my life,” said Jackson.
He was a leader in the city of Columbus and a trailblazer for the African-American community. Former Columbus police chief James Jackson become the first Black police chief on June 15, 1990.
Sixty years ago a young Jackson never would have imagined the legacy he would leave behind in Columbus. His legacy has earned him a spot in the 2018 Columbus Hall of Fame.
“I had no idea. I didn’t think I would ever become chief of police. I just stayed in there and plowed on,” said Jackson.
His story as a Columbus police officer started back in March 1958. The former Marine says he was first turned down to become an officer after a doctor failed to properly perform his health physical.
He told Jackson he had a bad grip. But Jackson was determined to get on the force.
“He gave me his hand and as he went to his knees he indicated that I had a fine grip,” said Jackson.
Jackson, one of two African-American officers in his recruiting class, proved to be an outstanding officer throughout the years on the force. Climbing the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant, deputy chief, and ultimately became police chief.
His name is in big bold letters at the Columbus Police Training Academy.
Jackson, a hero to many in Columbus, is now in the hall of fame.
“Funny thing is, I have people often say they wish I was back. That’s nice to hear but I’m doing nothing and I’m doing nothing well,” said Jackson.