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First African American officer promoted to captain



Little Rock, Arkansas – In a first for the police department, the North Little Rock Police Department promoted an African American officer to the rank of Captain.

The North Little Rock Justice Center served as the location for Officer Ron Messer’s promotion ceremony.

Captain is the highest attainable level behind Chief and Assistant Chief of Police, and Messer holds the distinction of being the first African American officer to be elevated to that rank within the NLRPD.

“Well I’m feeling great to know that I’m a part of something bigger than myself. It’s a great opportunity for me and for people like me to be able to see that they can do whatever they set their minds to,” he said.

“I’ve worked with him for a very long time, and I’m very proud of him and I’m very confident in his abilities,” said NLRPD Police Chief Patrick Thessing. “And to have him onboard as command staff, it’s pretty awesome. I’m excited.”

In 1997, Messer started working for the NLRPD. He has spent his 25 years of service in the patrol, narcotics, and school resource officer divisions.

The celebratory promotion ceremony was attended by a large portion of Captain Messer’s family, who expressed their pride in him.

“Being the first African American to be promoted to captain is just the cherry on top,” Annette Ireland, Messer’s sister, said. “He’s a hard worker and he’s so deserving. He’s committed and passionate about his work, his commitment to the citizens of North Little Rock. And we’re extremely proud.”

Only one more remarkable accomplishment has to be decided: will Messer run for police chief?

“I was seeing retirement in a few years, but I may have to reevaluate that. I think I may stick around for a while,” Messer said.

Jhailen Rathey, another African American officer, received his promotion to Sergeant during the ceremony.

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