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The Rice of Policing in Indiana

VU welcomes Black historian, doctoral student
Amber Taylor
Leon Bates discusses the Rise of Policing in Indiana in during an event Thursday held at the Shake Learning Resource Center.

Vincennes University on Thursday welcomed Leon Bates to discuss the Rise of Policing in Indiana.

The event was held in the Shake Learning Resource Center.

Bates is a U.S. historian of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (GAPE), the end of reconstruction to the Great Depression. His research focus is the urban environment, with interests in education, housing, infrastructure, labor, medicine, policing, violence, police violence, and the intersection of race. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies and History from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and masters of arts degrees in Pan African Studies from the University of Louisville and history from Wayne State University. Bates is a current Ph.D. student in the Department of Pan African Studies at the University of Louisville.

He spoke with passion about the history of policing in Indiana and explained in detail about how and why Indianapolis became the fourth city in the United States to employ African American police officers.

“I think for the students to hear this is important because most people don’t realize how far this goes back,” he said.

He also spoke on negative policing events that occurred in Indiana’s history, which led to the hiring of black officers.

“Most people assume that black police officers have always been here but were really hired as a political compromise,” he explained.

He also spoke about his time here in Vincennes.

“Everyone is friendly here; I’ve been here several times to explore the history of Vincennes, but this is my first time visiting the campus,” he said.

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