ARLINGTON — Family and friends in the packed City Council chambers bowed their heads and closed their eyes Friday morning at the request of Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson.He began to list admirable character traits.“Loyalty, trustworthiness, dedication, compassion, accountability, achievement, perseverance and honor,” Johnson said.“As these words resonate on your hearts and closed eyes, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech. Lauretta, I’m promoting you because of the content of your character, not because of the color of your skin.”On Friday, Lauretta Hill, a 19-year veteran of the Arlington police force, became the first black woman promoted to assistant police chief. Hers was one of nine promotions recognized during the ceremony at City Hall.Tears rolled down the face of Hill’s mom, and her husband, Maurice Hill, a retired Arlington police officer, nodded in encouragement.The couple have been married 15 years. In an interview after the ceremony, Hill said she knew in college that she wanted to do police work and found Arlington to be the perfect fit. “I achieved this, but the people standing behind me, my family — it takes a little system to get to this point with two little kids,” Hill said.Her sons, 7-month-old Johnathan and 5-year-old Jeremiah, stood by her as she spoke. Hill directed security operations for Super Bowl XLV, the 2011 World Series and the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Among other recognitions, she received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the NAACP in 2004.Johnson spoke proudly of Hill and the eight other officers who will have new roles Tuesday. Other appointments were David McGinty and Chavela Hampton, deputy chief; Tarrick McGuire, Mandy Baker and Christopher Cook, lieutenant; and Seth Archer, Spence Kimbro and Brian Garcia, sergeant. After Johnson walked down the line of nine officers and shook their hands, little Jeremiah Hill walked up to his mom, grabbed her hand and stood up straight in line with the officers. Hill looked down at her son and chuckled when she spoke about inspiring others. “It’s important to always have someone in front of you to teach you, and someone behind you to reach back and get,” she said.
Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792 Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST