Baker, Charles William(born: 1941) Charles W. Baker was the second African American to serve as a Jefferson County, KY police officer, [the first was William Parker Mitchell]. In 1977, Charles William Baker filed a discrimination lawsuit in the Federal District Court against Chief Edgar Helm, the Jefferson County Police Executive Board, and the Jefferson County Police Merit Board. The lawsuit was in response to the failure to hire and promote African American police officers within the Jefferson County Police Department. The case was handled by attorney Juanita Logan Christian with support from the Urban League [Juanita L. Christian had a private law practice in Louisville and now practices law in Michigan]. The suit was settled with a ten year consent decree that would increase the number of African American police officers hired and promoted, and open the rank for assistant chief. Though Charles W. Baker scored the highest on the exam for the promotion, he was still denied rank, and retired from the Jefferson County Police Department in 1982.
Charles W. Baker was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Helen Keeylen Baker and Thomas Baker. He is a graduate of Male High School in Louisville; earned his associate degree and bachelor's degree in business administration while enlisted in the U.S. Marines; and earned his M.S. in political science at Eastern Kentucky University. He was a police officer in Washington D. C., and transferred to the City of Louisville Police Department in 1968. Baker transferred to the Jefferson County Police Department in 1972, he was hired by Chief Russell McDaniel. The lawsuit filed by Baker, and the consent decree signed by County Judge Mitchell McConnell, opened the door for more African American officers to be hired in Kentucky, and other southern states followed Kentucky's lead. In the Jefferson County Police Department, the first African American woman officer was Jackie Dulan, and Carol Hickman was the third woman officer to be hired. Information for this entry was provided by Charles W. Baker during a phone interview on February 14, 2012. For more information see, Charles W. Baker, et al., v. County of Jefferson et al., Case No. C-80-8039(L)(A) and the consent decree at the U.S. District Clerk of Court in Louisville, KY.