Nov. 15, 2010 Riverdale Clayton County Georgia, USA
Fulton County Georgia's first black police chief. He has been described as a "giant" in the law enforcement community who continued to be a great public servant even to the end of his life. Graham joined the Atlanta Police Department in 1964 at a time when black police officers couldn't arrest white offenders. He eventually led the APD's homicide squad and, as Fulton's assistant police chief, served on the multi-agency task force formed in the summer of 1980 to investigate the Atlanta Child Murders. He was adamant that Wayne Williams, the local talent scout eventually convicted in two of killings, was innocent. He was elected as Fulton County's first black police chief in 1991. While working in the Fulton County Police Department, Graham was credited with solving dozens of cases. It was a badge of honor that led him to hold the badge of the top cop in the county. He retired from that position only to come out of retirement to be Dekalb County's Chief Sheriff Deputy. He also spent one year on former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes staff. He retired from his Fulton post after eight years, but he didn't stay out of uniform for long, joining the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office a year later. Graham became DeKalb's top cop in 2004 and served two years before resigning. The investigation on Wayne Williams which he opened was discontinued after his resignation. Graham was also a Deacon and member of Atlanta's Jackson Memorial Baptist Church. Graham died at age 71 while in the care of an Atlanta Hospice Facility from complications of multiple myeloma. Members of the metro Atlanta law enforcement community days later created a sea of blue and black to pay their final respects at his funeral. Graham had a celebrated 40-plus year career in law enforcement and was considered a pioneer. Mourners remembered him as the first African-American to head Atlanta police's homicide detective squad. His colleagues said he always led by example.
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path...and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson