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Former Gainesville police commander Harold Black dies at 86
Harold Black 001
Harold G. Black

After serving his country as a Marine in Korea, Harold G. Black came back to Gainesville and served the community for 32 years.

A former commander in the Gainesville Police Department, Black died Monday at his Gainesville home. He was 86.

Black retired from the department in 1988, having worked at the department for 32 years.

Black was on the interview board that hired now-Gainesville Police Chief Carol Martin in 1987.

“He was very straightforward with you, expecting you to do a good job and come in and work,” she said.

Although she did not get a chance to work with then-Capt. Black much while she was a patrol officer, Martin visited him along with retired Capt. Chad White at his Gainesville home.

“He saw that badge and when you entered his house, it just seemed like it made him real happy,” White said. “It was a comfort zone for him, I believe, when he saw the uniform. I think it made his day.”

Black served in the United States Marine Corps from 1950 until 1954 as a staff sergeant in the Korean War, receiving a Purple Heart. At the Gainesville police retiree reunion in August, he and two World War II veterans were honored with plaques.

Black’s award came from another Marine — Capt. Jay Parrish who works currently with Martin.

“He was someone who I would say was devoted and dedicated to serve his country as well as his community,” White said.

In 1964, Black became the first training officer for the department, said White, who also worked on President Lyndon Johnson’s security detail during his visit to Gainesville that year.

“(Black) was very proud of the Gainesville Police Department and to be part of it,” White said.

A service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Little & Davenport Funeral Home chapel.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Lakewood Baptist Church, where Black was a member.

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