How Saundra Brown, first black woman on the OPD earned presidential nomination to the US District Court

Saundra Brown Armstrong via Wikimedia Commons

Saundra Brown, later to become Saundra Brown Armstrong, became the first black woman on the Oakland Police Force (OPD). At the time, she was one of only seven policewomen on the force.

Armstrong served with the Oakland Police from 1970-77 and is now a Senior Judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Born on March 23, 1947, the woman who has spent over 50 years in public service received an Associate of Arts degree from Merritt College in 1967 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fresno in 1969.

She received a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1977 and became a judicial extern, California Court of Appeals in 1977, as well as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California from 1978 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1982.

“From 1979 to 1980, she was a senior consultant to the California Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice. A trial attorney of Public Integrity Section of the United States Department of Justice from 1982 to 1983, and then served as a Commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1983 to 1986.”

Brown served on the United States Parole Commission from 1986 to 1989. She was also a Judge on the Alameda Superior Court, California from 1989 to 1991.

“On April 25, 1991, Armstrong was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California vacated by William Austin Ingram. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 14, 1991, and received her commission on June 18, 1991.”

 The Oakland, California native assumed senior status on March 23, 2012.

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Saundra Brown, the first black woman on the Oakland Police Force, gets instructions on how to shoot a shotgun, 1970 via Facebook.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: August 14, 2020


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