Erwin Police Department Hires First Black Officer in Its 133-Year History | WJHL

ERWIN, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Erwin Police Department was founded in 1891 and is still making historic progress.

Just six weeks ago, Roger Antone was hired as the first black police officer there and he says he’s enjoying his new job.

“I love it,” Antone said. “I’m glad I moved here.”

Antone was also the first Black K9 officer hired in Bluff City years ago. But he doesn’t just want to be remembered for these firsts.

“I’m trying to go my own way and prove to my children, the younger generation and everyone else that you have to find your own way and walk by faith. I remember Dr. King, who said in his speech that he would prefer his children to be judged by their character rather than the color of their skin, and I agree with that,” he said.

Antone would say that this new job was a highlight of his career, but admits that he also had some low points as he had experienced many ups and downs in his life. He says he wants to use his life experiences to give good advice to children in the area.

“Your path to success will not be straight. You’ll experience bumps, curves and hula loops, but stay on track and focus, and no matter who or what tells you no, don’t take no for an answer, says Antone.

Antone is one of 17 officers in Erwin.

Chief Regan Tilson said Antone “did a phenomenal job.”

“He’s a good cop and that’s what we need,” Tilson said.