President of Noble Presenting Criminal Justice and Sociology Day Keynote Address



Feb. 4, 2005 – Clarence Edwards, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) will present the keynote address during Criminal Justice and Sociology Day activities Feb. 23 at Southeast Missouri State University.

In addition to the keynote address, a career fair is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. in the University Center. Throughout the day, a number of demonstrations, including TASER, canine rescue and defensive tactics, will be offered in the University Center.  Edwards’ visit is being sponsored by the Department of Criminal Justice & Sociology in conjunction with the College of Health and Human Services and Minority Student Programs as part of the University’s Black History Month celebration.

Edwards’ presentation is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall. Edwards became president of NOBLE last July at the organization’s National Training Conference in Dallas, Texas. NOBLE is recognized as a highly competent, public service organization at the forefront of providing solutions to law enforcement issues and concerns, and to the ever-changing needs of communities. NOBLE is dedicated to ensuring equity in the administration of justice in the provision of public service to all communities. NOBLE is comprised of about 3,000 command and executive level law enforcement officers and special agents working for federal, state and local agencies.

Toni Smith, Criminal Justice and Sociology Day coordinator, said she is pleased to have such a celebrated professional participate in the activities.

“We are very proud and excited to have Mr. Edwards as a guest at this University.  Mr. Edwards is an example of the professionalism, integrity, and diversity for which our department and our University strives,” she said.

Edwards is a Washington, D.C., native, who received his secondary education in the public school system of that city.  He began his law enforcement career in 1963 as a member of the U.S. Park Police.  During a 21-year career with that agency, he rose through the ranks to command positions, in patrol, criminal investigations, internal affairs, special weapons and tactics and community relations.  He served in Washington, DC, Boston and New York City and held the rank of major when he retired in 1984.

In 1985, he was appointed division chief for the Maryland National Capital Park Police in Montgomery County. He served in that position until 1991, when he was appointed chief of police for Montgomery County. With this appointment, he became the first African American county police chief in the history of Maryland.  During his tenure as chief of police, he was credited with hiring more than 100 minority and female police officers and with initiating community outreach programs that greatly diminished tensions between county police and the various minority populations in that jurisdiction.  He served as chief of police until 1995.

After earning a master of science degree in applied psychology from Johns Hopkins University in 1996, Edwards returned to federal service in 1997 as assistant commissioner of the Federal Protective Service within the U.S. General Services Administration, where he was responsible for the security of more than 8,500 federal buildings.  He managed an annual budget in excess of $350 million. Edwards retired from the U.S. General Services Administration in 2003.

He has received numerous honors during his more than 35 years of experience leading law enforcement, security and continuity of operations for federal, state and local agencies.  He received a Governor’s Citation from Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer in 1995, a commendation from President Bill Clinton for services to the citizens of Maryland in 1994, a commendation from Archbishop William Cardinal Baum in 1979, and a commendation from President Jimmy Carter for visitor and security services during the 1977 Presidential Inaugural.

He also holds a bachelor of science degree from American University in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute, FBI National Academy and the Federal Executive Institute.  He holds lifetime memberships with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Edwards was the U.S. General Services Administration’s representative at a 1998 international conference on government facility security in Cape Town, South Africa.  He has also taught general criminal investigations courses as a guest lecturer at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana. Johns Hopkins University has used Edwards’ expertise on facility security matters as a guest lecturer for that university’s graduate program for senior U.S. Secret Service officials.

He and his wife Joanne are residents of Montgomery County, Md.