Ohio’s first African American state trooper laid to rest

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Louis Sharp, a prominent figure and part of state history as he served as Ohio’s first African American state trooper, passed away last week at the age of 85. On Monday, many remembered the man who they said paved the way for others.

Family, friends, and dozens of local law enforcement gathered at Christ the King Catholic Church, where many came to honor a man who gave so much to his community. A funeral procession led by the Ohio State Highway Patrol to Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery followed the service.

Sharp’s grandson, Justin Sharp, uses the word “strong” to describe his grandfather.

“I don’t know too many people stronger than he was,” he said. “Somebody willing to help others. He was loving and wanted everybody to succeed.”

Sharp is considered a role model by many, including Staff Lieutenant Chuck Jones.

“Being the first African American trooper commissioned to the Highway Patrol has a special meaning for all of us,” Jones said.

He said Sharp paved the way for others in law enforcement.

“A mentor to many of the African American troopers on the Highway Patrol, it was truly a blessing to be in his presence.”

The Ohio State Highway Patrol was just the start of Louis Sharp’s journey. Adding to the list of his accomplishments, he was elected as Mayor of Urbancrest in 1980 and recently inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

“It made me proud of being who I am, carrying his last name and being able to give that to my children,” Justin Sharp said.

“Somebody that we adore that we’re going to sadly miss,” Jones said. “I’m going to miss his smile and his kind words. Know that Mr. Sharp is in a better place and he’s looking down on us with a big smile.”

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