Police Sergeant Lucius J. Rice, (1876–1939)
Policewoman Dora B. Rice, (1882–1940)
In 1896, when he was 20, Sgt. Lucius Rice moved from North Carolina to Dayton where he met his future wife Dora, a first cousin of the renowned poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar. After being honorably discharged from the Ohio National Guard, Rice was appointed to the Dayton Police Department. He became the second African-American patrolman, first black detective, first black sergeant when he was promoted in 1916, and one of the longest-serving black officers of the 20th century. During his career he served with distinction and sacrifice. Critically injured three times in his police career, twice in gun battles, he was tragically killed in the line of duty in 1939 after a 30-year career.
Dora Rice, a homemaker until her children were older, played a key role at Wesleyan Methodist Church as its treasurer for 20 years and church organist for 22 years. She became an outstanding figure in local African-American life through church, club, community and civic affairs. She chose to join her husband in law enforcement in 1929.
She became Dayton’s first black policewoman where she devoted herself to protecting neglected and abused children and mentoring girls for better lives. Together, the Rices personify the sacrifices of all local fallen police officers and fallen officers’ families.