SAN FRANCISCO—Former San Francisco Police Chief Prentice Earl Sanders died on Monday, January 11 at the age of 83. He was the first Black chief for the department. He joined the force in 1964 and became a homicide detective in 1971.

In his time as an officer, he was one of the founding members of Officers for Justice, which is a Police Union and community based out of the Bayview area. They assist in police officer matters and the community with job search and recruitment for the San Francisco Police Department. Officers for Justice was an African-American organization that was founded in 1968 because African-Americans and minority officers were not given the same opportunities as their non-colored counterparts, thus Officers for Justice was born because of a few brave people including Sanders who were willing to step up and make a change in their community.

Sanders was also one of the first officers to testify in federal court in a lawsuit that was filed by the OFJ against the City and County of San Francisco alleging discrimination and hiring of minorities. Some cases included the Zebra murders where Black Muslims murdered over 70 White individuals. Sanders also investigated the 101 California Street Shooting, where a gunman at an office building killed eight people including himself.

Sgt. Yulanda Williams, the current president of Officers for Justice, said the following about Sanders: “He was a very outspoken, well-versed person who was committed to the equity and justice of black male and female officers. He understood the importance of us being available and being a source within our communities, so I would say that he was actually a role model for me.”

Current Police Chief of SF William Scott released the following statement in response to Sanders death:

“All of us in the San Francisco Police Department are saddened to learn of the passing
of former Chief of Police Prentice “Earl” Sanders, and our thoughts and prayers go out
to his family, friends and all who knew him. To all who did not, Chief Sanders should be
remembered for a trailblazing legacy that went far beyond the barrier he broke as San
Francisco’s first Black chief of police.”

Sanders passed away in an assisted living facility after fighting a long battle with kidney disease. Currently, Officers for Justice has a total of 141 members.