John White of the Savanah (GA) Police Department served that agency for 37 years, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. The retired World War II Marine—now 94 years old—was honored by his former department for being a pioneer with the agency. White was the first African-American officer there.

At the ceremony held by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police on Friday, Lieutenant White was presented with a gift box full of every agency patch worn by Savannah and Savannah-Chatham police since White was an officer.

One of what has been come to be known as "The Original Nine"—the first group of black men to have been sworn in after graduating the academy—White was praised at the ceremony for blazing a trail for other black officers in the United States.

According to, the chief of the department at the time—Chief James Rogers—"hated" the Nine, but as he aged eventually asked the men to be his pallbearers when he died.