A Tulsa police officer will receive a long overdue honor this weekend and it is an especially proud moment for a member of his family. Officer Robert Jackson died in the line of duty in 1927. Recently, Tulsa police officer Gary Pitts discovered he's the slain officerâ€™s great-great-great nephew and he'll take part in the ceremony honoring his ancestor.
The quiet turf of Rolling Oaks Cemetery has for 72 years held a secret, the location of a notable grave. Officer Robert Jackson was the first black Tulsa police officer to die in the line of duty. The grave was believed to be lost, but recently it was located. The Tulsa Police Memorial Fund Committee plans to mark the grave with a headstone on Sunday. "He served his community, served it well and gave the ultimate sacrifice,â€ said retired officer Doug Cash. â€œHe gave his life and should be memorialized forever for that."
At the ceremony, former and current officers will reflect on the life and death of Jackson. Pitts is just getting to know the story of his ancestor. "It's a sad deal, but it's also exciting to know that he was a part of Tulsaâ€™s history and that I am related to him,â€ he said. Jackson died in the 600 block of North Greenwood. In 1927, the area was a neighborhood, but is now the home of OSU-Tulsa. Jackson answered a domestic disturbance call, and was shot and killed as he walked to the front door.
Once the new headstone is placed, Jacksonâ€™s grave will be decorated every year. Pitts can then visit the relative he never knew, but who will never be forgotten. â€œI think it speaks highly of the department that they still honor their officers,â€ said Pitts. â€œI think it shows that they stick by each other for them to have such a ceremony. The memorial service is scheduled for Sunday at 2:00 PM.