Cape Breton’s First Black Police Officer

When Carl "Campy" Crawford of Whitney Pier joined the Sydney Police Service in 1964, he became the first black municipal police officer east of Montreal.

But family members say his reputation on the streets of Sydney is his real legacy.  His wife Iris (Ifill) Crawford says she is proud of Campy’s approach to community policing, and that his philosophy was to have a kind heart and respect for others.

“My children and I were told a remarkable story,” says Mrs. Crawford. “A woman told us that she said a prayer every night for Campy.  She had 12 kids and her husband was a drinker. Some officers would fine her husband for being intoxicated in public, but Campy knew money was scarce and preferred to help.  Instead of taking him to jail, Campy would get the man home safely, and sometimes even help put him to bed.”

Carl Crawford excelled at baseball in his youth.  A neighbour once compared him to Roy ‘Campy’ Campanella (a catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and 1950s.)

“That’s where his nickname comes from,” says Mrs. Crawford. “Baseball was something he loved, and he also loved to sing.  We are also very proud that Campy was devoted to Sea Cadets when he was young. He was an amazing person and I’m so happy that he is still being honoured today with the Carl ‘Campy’ Crawford Award.”

The annual award presented by the Cape Breton Regional Police Service recognizes people who help their community through leadership, volunteerism, and social justice.

Crawford is an inductee of the Black Wall of Fame at the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia, located in Cherrybrook, near Dartmouth.

Campy died in 2003 at the age of 64. He is survived by his wife Iris, four children, and four
Learn more about the Carl ‘Campy’ Crawford AwardHERE.

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