St. Clair College President Patti France Receives Alton C. Parker Community Hero Award | St. Clair College
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
President Patti France receiving award

St. Clair College is thrilled to announce that President, Patti France, has been honored with the Alton C. Parker Community Hero Award at the 2024 Windsor Police Service Awards Banquet held Tuesday May 7, 2024. This prestigious recognition celebrates President France's exceptional leadership, dedication to education, and commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion within the community.

At the ceremony, Windsor police shared: “President France, the first female president of St. Clair College, has spearheaded transformative initiatives aimed at advancing academic excellence and inclusivity within the institution. Her visionary leadership has led to remarkable growth and development, empowering students from all backgrounds to thrive in an environment that values diversity and equity.

Recognizing her profound impact beyond the campus borders, the Windsor Police Service highlighted President France's active involvement in various community initiatives, advocating for education, equality, and empowerment. Her unwavering commitment to serving others has inspired countless individuals and positioned her as a true role model and leader in the community.”

Upon receiving the Alton C. Parker Community Hero Award, President France expressed her gratitude, stating, "I accept this award on behalf of the entire St. Clair College family of students, staff, and alumni. Like the Police Service, and the late Detective Parker, St. Clair is committed to the enhancement of diversity and inclusion in both our institution and education as a whole." President France further emphasized the college's dedication to fostering accessibility to postsecondary education for all individuals, enabling them to benefit from life-changing opportunities. She also acknowledged the college's longstanding commitment to educating students in law enforcement and other emergency services, producing numerous first-responder heroes who serve the community with valor and dedication.

Alton C. Parker Community Hero Award.

This award is presented to a member of our Service or the community who nurtures leadership and dedication to serve the community and fosters an environment of inclusion, empowerment and potential while breaking down barriers. The Alton C. Parker Community Hero Award is awarded to an individual who consistently practices bravery, respect, and a reflection to achieve a greater good within our community. The award was first presented in 2022.

Alton C Parker

Alton Parker was the first black individual hired by the Windsor Police to be a constable. He was hired on September 1st 1942. Parker was born in Windsor in 1907, and spent his entire life within the city that he loved. Parker had been involved with many community organizations. He joined and later went on to become the president of the Central Citizens Association. This group was organized to represent members of the black community in their attempt to seek out fair and equal treatment with in the City of Windsor. One of the issues that this group addressed was the limited employment opportunities for blacks within the City structure. A presentation was done to the city administration. The response of "send us qualified people and we will employ them" opened the door for Parker.

At 34 years old Parker, a mechanic by trade, left his job working as the foreman of the used car department of Nash Detroit, took a decrease in pay and became Windsor Police’s s second black employee, and first black constable. The first black employee Charles David Peterson was hired as a mechanic in May of 1930.

Parker enjoyed his new duties as a police officer despite some of the resistance he met with from both other officers, and members of the public. Undaunted, Parker became involved with the Windsor Police Association. In 1949 a few 7 years after being hired Parker went on to be the first black member of the executive committee of the WPA. He became the first black member from any police department in Ontario to attend to attend the Police Association of Ontario as a representative. He worked tirelessly to ensure fair treatment, equal representation, and proper working conditions for all members of the association.

On July 28, 1951 Parker was appointed to the rank of detective, under Chief Constable Farrow. This appointment made Alton Parker Canada’s first black detective. Parker was confirmed in the rank on January 1, 1953. Parker went on to have an exemplary career with the Windsor Police which included many honours in his lifetime. He received numerous awards, including the Order of Canada, the Ontario Bravery Medal for Good Citizenship and the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal. In 1986 Detective Parker received the Harry Jerome Award in recognition of his commitment to youth. In 1988 Detective Parker was named Person of the Year by the North American Black Historical Museum. Alton C. Parker passed away February 28, 1989.