Former Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman Dies at 52

Rebecca Coleman, a former Jackson Police Department (JPD) chief, passed away on February 24, 2021, at 65. Coleman served as the first female JPD chief, and her unexpected death has left many mourning her loss. 

Who was Rebecca Coleman?

Image source- WAPT

Rebecca Coleman was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on August 22, 1955. She was one of the five children of Charles and Arna Coleman. Rebecca grew up in Jackson, where she attended Jim Hill High School. She later attended Jackson State University, where she received a degree in Criminal Justice.

After college, Rebecca Coleman began her career in law enforcement. She joined the Jackson Police Department in 1980 and worked through the ranks, becoming the first female police chief in 2014. During her time with the JPD, Coleman was known for her dedication to the community and her commitment to improving the department’s relationship with the public.

Under her leadership, the JPD implemented community policing programs and increased the department’s use of technology to improve crime prevention and response. Coleman was also a strong advocate for the use of body cameras by police officers, believing that they would increase accountability and transparency in law enforcement.

Rebecca Coleman was involved in the community in addition to her employment with the JPD. She was a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police. She was also a member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.

What was the cause of Rebecca Coleman’s passing away?

Rebecca Coleman passed away on February 24, 2021, at 65. The cause of her death has not been officially released. However, according to reports, Coleman had been in declining health for several months before her passing. Her unexpected death shocked many, especially those who had worked with her during her time with the JPD.

Tributes to Rebecca Coleman

Following the announcement of her death, many people rushed to social media to offer their condolences and pay respect to Rebecca Coleman. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said, “The City of Jackson is deeply saddened by the passing of former Police Chief Rebecca Coleman. She dedicated her life to serving our city and improving the lives of our residents. Her contributions will not be forgotten.”

Many of her former colleagues and friends also shared their memories of Coleman. JPD Chief James Davis said, “Chief Coleman was a trailblazer and pioneer in law enforcement. Her contributions to the JPD and the city of Jackson will never be forgotten.” Former JPD Chief Lindsey Horton called Coleman a “consummate professional” and praised her dedication to the department and the community.

Rebecca Coleman’s legacy

Rebecca Coleman’s legacy as a trailblazer and role model in law enforcement cannot be overstated. Her tenure as the first female chief of the JPD was a significant milestone in the department’s history. Her commitment to community policing and increasing transparency in law enforcement had a lasting impact.

Coleman’s legacy will continue to inspire future law enforcement officers, especially women and people of colour who may face additional barriers in their careers. Her effort to improve the connection between law enforcement and the public and her service to the community should serve as an example for law enforcement agencies today.


Rebecca Coleman was a true trailblazer in law enforcement and a dedicated public servant who significantly contributed to her community. Her unexpected passing has left many mourning her loss, but her legacy will continue to inspire and guide law enforcement officers and community leaders for years.

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