TOL Team Treasure: TPD Patrolman Becomes First Black Officer to Receive Badge No. 1

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Toledo Police Department Officer Dana Slay recalls it being winter when she started her 33-year career on the force.

“I remember the exact day. It was December 14, 1990,” Officer Slay said.

Despite not having aspirations to become a police officer from a young age, she was encouraged to take the test and eventually ranked 34th out of 5000 people. Officer Slay never regretted her decision and took pride in serving the community, helping people in their time of need, big or small.

“I have always worked to serve the community,” Officer Slay said. “That's our motto ‘to protect and serve.’ If it's important to you, then it's important to me.”

Officer Slay, who was born and raised in Toledo, said she is filled with pride and honor to become the first Black officer to be awarded Badge No. 1, which means she holds the highest rank among TPD patrolmen in the Toledo Police Department.

When Officer Slay's daughter pinned Badge No. 1 on her uniform, TPD officers, friends, and family erupted in applause and cheers. Her family was in happy tears.

"We have a very deserving member of TPD getting badge No. 1,” TPD Interim Chief Michael Troendle said.

“This long tradition started in 1873 and Officer Slay will be the first African-American woman to ever wear badge No. 1 and be the highest patrolman in the police department. It’s pretty impressive.”

The significance of this historical achievement is not lost on Officer Slay.

“This badge means that I am a representation of the department, serving as an inspiration for Black officers and letting them know that they too can achieve whatever they set their sights on. To have earned this honor and make history in this department between MLK Day and Black History Month is huge,” Slay said.

She said she hopes to be an inspiration to African American teens and to continue mentoring residents in the community.

“I don’t know if anyone believes in God or in a higher power, but it was by his grace and his mercy that brought me this far,” Officer Slay said.

Officer Slay said that she loves this community and will continue to be an agent of change with or without wearing badge No 1.

“I would like to tell all of our kids to ‘Put down the gun. Put down the guns and pick up a book.”