PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – History was made in Plano this week as the city appointed its first African American police chief.
Drain, most recently the Amarillo Police Chief, is a former Plano assistant chief and a decorated military veteran.
The Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church has been the one constant thread through Plano’s black heritage for the past 135 years.
Pastor Isiah Joshua says the thought that the city could have an African American mayor and police chief was unimaginable when he first attended the church.
“Forty years ago that probably would’ve been very unheard of,” said Pastor Joshua. “Not likely at all.”
The pastor is excited about the news that Drain will return to Plano as police chief after leading the department in Amarillo for the past four years.
Drain was a longtime assistant chief in Plano.
His appointment breaks down a color barrier and some say sends a message about the fourth largest city in North Texas that is more than 60% white.
“It just speaks very highly of people in the city recognizing quality and excellence within individuals,” said the Pastor. “It also says to our young people it gives them hope and aspiration that they can do anything that they want to do and become anyone.”
Researching Plano’s black history has been a passion for Haggard Librarian Cheryl Smith.
She’s documented the hard times the African American community faced in separate schools and neighborhoods.
But she found Plano quickly became a progressive city when black and white schools integrated in 1965.
“The stories I’ve heard we here in Plano is we did a better job of accepting them,” said Smith.
That approach may have contributed to what Plano’s future now looks like.
A future that reminds some of famous words from the past.
“One day our children will not be judged by the color of the skin but by the content of the character and I’m watching his (Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s) words come very true.”
Drain will replace former Chief Gregory W. Rushin, who was promoted to Deputy City Manager last September.