Frances B. Sellers Award – Reunion 2009
De Lacy Davis been intimately involved with Newark, New Jersey, all his life, but he has also taken his Drew education with him around the world.
De Lacy credits his Newark Performing Arts High School music teacher, with inspiring him to attend Drew under the Educational Opportunity Scholars program that Frances B. Sellers so ably served. The Drew experience, he says, changed “the trajectory of his life.” He found Professor Julius Mastro’s mentoring invaluable as he coped with campus life in a very new environment.
Emerging from Drew with an English major, De Lacy joined the East Orange (N.J.) Police Department, where he became sergeant in 1998 and continued until his retirement in 2006. He taught at the Essex County Policy Academy, served as president and vice president of the Police Benevolent Association, Local #16, and has been executive director of the East Orange Police Athletic League since 1999. Disturbed by the nation’s high incidence of police brutality, he spoke out against police officers who used brutal means to enforce the law. In 1991 he founded Black Cops Against Police Brutality, and is the author of best-selling Black Cops Against Brutality: A Crisis Action Plan. In 1993 he was invited to serve on Governor Jim McGreevey’s Transition Team for the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
In 1994 De Lacy received the prestigious Renault Robinson Award by the National Black Police Association, which he later served as the Northeast Region President of the Association for four years. In 1997 he led a Northeast delegation to Washington, D.C. to testify before the Congressional Black Caucus’ Committee hearings on police brutality, and he has also served as an expert witness. He has appeared many times in the news media and in films and documentaries. He has received three United States Congressional Awards, as well as awards from New Jersey, New York, and California.
De Lacy has also established strong connections abroad. In 1994 he traveled with a Newark delegation to establish a sister city relationship with Kumasi, Ghana, and traveled again to Ghana in 2001 as a guest of President John A. Kufuor. Three years later, visiting Ghana with 26 young people from East Orange, De Lacy was enstooled (installed) as a chief in the Village of Anum Apapam. He has also traveled to Rome to meet with Pope John Paul II on behalf of juvenile offenders, and to Cuba and South Africa.
De Lacy, who earned a Master of Administrative Science degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2002, has returned to Drew to respond to student needs and requests, including celebrations of Black History Month and Kwanzaa. Currently he is School Leader of the Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School in Newark. He still lives in Newark, where his daughter,
A-La, has graduated from Arts High School with a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music. His four adopted children, Jarisa Brannon-Davis, Karim Cockrell, LaJuan Henry, and Mahogany Gray, are all in their 20s.