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Richard Alexander Blake (1951-)

Richard A. Blake
Richard A. Blake, 1990

Richard A. Blake was the eldest son born to Rosemarion A. Blake and Richard D. Blake. Born on December 6, 1951, he was among the third generation of Blakes to live in Ann Arbor. Richard A. Blake attended Huron High School, participating in track and playing in the percussion section of the symphony. Blake graduated from Huron High in 1970. As a youth, he was also a member of the Boy Scout Troop 64. In 1970, he participated in the Law Enforcement Explorer Post No. 155, a training program that allowed youths to experience police work and educational programs such as first aid training through the Red Cross. 

After high school, he attended Lake Superior State College, studying electronics until deciding to study criminal justice at Washington State University. In 1972, Blake was honored for saving a child’s life. Though he was a lifeguard at the time, the incident occurred while he was off duty. He administered CPR to the child until he began to breathe again. He received the highest honor from the American Red Cross: the Red Cross Award of Merit.

After his education, he briefly worked at the police department in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where he was the only Black police officer in the state. Richard A. Blake was a police officer in Ann Arbor by 1973, where he worked until his retirement. Starting in March of 1988, Blake volunteered for the position of foot patrol officer, commonly known as a “beat” officer. The Ann Arbor City Council approved a budget for two new foot patrol officers in response to merchants’ requests for “greater police presence” Downtown. Blake became a detective in February of 1990, marking the end of his foot patrol years. Blake was a popular presence in Downtown Ann Arbor. The merchants on his “beat” even filed a petition with the Ann Arbor Police Department against his reassignment when he was promoted to detective. By 1992, Richard Blake had been promoted to Staff Sergeant. In 2002 Blake was named Ann Arbor's Police Officer of the Year by the Ann Arbor Breakfast Optimist Club.

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