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20.09.2018

One of NYPD’s first black commanding officers dies.

One of the NYPD’s first black commanding officers has died and will be laid to rest Tuesday in The Bronx. Albert Dandridge, who passed away June 10 at age 96, led the 48th Precinct Detectives Squad in the 1960s at a time when there were few black cops even on the job. “They didn’t have...
Time: 16:06     Date: 18.06.2018
Metro News: One of NYPD’s first black commanding officers dies. NY Post 24 - US News

Albert Dandridge, who passed away June 10 at age 96, led the 48th Precinct Detectives Squad in the 1960s at a time when there were few black cops even on the job.

“They didn’t have a lot of authority,” a police source said of black officers at the time. “To actually be a commanding officer of a detective squad was unheard of. Just being a cop back then was big.

“Being a commanding officer was huge.”

“He grew up in the Depression, didn’t have anything,” Tony told The Post of his father. “He was a planner, he was a thinker. He gravitated to things that would enhance what he was doing.”

His dad never bragged about his accomplishments or brought his work home with him, the son said.

“He never said, ‘I was a lieutenant back in the 1960s,’” Tony Dandridge said.

“You’re a squad commander, and you’re telling white people what to do,” he said of his father. “You would have to have a certain personality to do that. If you met him, you could tell he was a person of strength.”

Albert Dandridge eventually earned the rank of Rokudan, or sixth-degree black belt, in jiu-jitsu. Tony said his dad, who was considered a “gentleman,” taught him lessons that live on in him today.

The son remembered one vacation when he was 8 years old and his father taught him how to use a sauna. He said his father told him he had to stay inside until he sweats and then take a cold shower.

“At 8 years old, he told me as the cold water’s coming down, ‘Think hot. The mind controls the body.’ That was just one of the lessons,” Tony Dandridge said.

The son said that when he was 16, his dad realized that he was starting to follow some of the wrong crowd and taught him transcendental meditation.

“Later on, I was like, ‘How did you know about meditation?’ He was very cerebral about things,” the son said.

After Albert retired from the NYPD, he became security director for the Community College of New York, including during frequent Vietnam sit-ins. A group of protesters had taken over one administrative building for a week, Tony Dandridge said.

“He said, ‘At some point, we made a decision we’re going to go in and we’re going to take their leader out,’” the son recalled of his father. “He goes in, and he grabs the leader by the arm, and he escorts him out. What he tells me is, ‘When I grabbed him, I had a pressure point. Because of my knowledge of the martial arts, I was able to make it uncomfortable for him without hurting him.”

Albert Dandridge held that job for 20 years before retiring but then was asked to come back as a consultant after a stampede left nine dead during a celebrity basketball game organized by Puffy Combs in 1991, who was a rap promoter at the time.

Tony Dandridge said it was difficult to move his father into assisted living when he was 90 but that he had fallen and couldn’t live on his own anymore.

The son recalled the difficulty of telling his father, “You’re not driving anymore and you have to move to an assisted living facility.’ He said, ‘Why can’t I stay at home? I’ll stay in the basement.’ I was like, ‘Dad, there are no windows.’ ”

Albert’s 95-year-old widow, Dahlia, remains in the assisted-living facility where they had lived together.

“Now that’s my next focus,” the son said. “I gotta watch her, keep her busy.”

Albert Dandridge is also survived by his daughter, Angela Hammie-Bonner, and a brother.

His wake will be held Monday from 4 to 9 p.m. at McCall’s Funeral Home. Another viewing will be held Tuesday from 10 to 11 a.m. at St. Augustine Presbyterian Church on East 165th St. in The Bronx, followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m.

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