Above: A graphic pen sketch based on an image with NY1's May 13th web page reporting the dedication of the Benjamin Ward Central Visit Building on Rikers Island. Click to access. Use browser's "back" button to return. Below: An image of the relevant passages in the dedication announcement transmitted throughout the Department of Correction May 9, 2013:

Below: Elements from the dedication's printed program frame the "Order of Exercises" text transcribed from it.

— Order Of Exercises —


Presentation of Colors

National Anthem
Correction Officer Evelyrd Gairous

Bishop Eric P. Brown

Opening Remarks and
Presentation of Proclamation
from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Commissioner Dora B. Schriro

Presentation of City Council Proclamation
City Council Woman Elizabeth Crowley

Guest Speakers

Mary Ward-Markane, Daughter of Benjamin Ward

Hildy Simmons, former Chair,
New York City Board of Correction

Jacqueline McMickens, former Commissioner,
New York City Department of Correction

Jeremy Travis, President,
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Unveiling of the Plaque
Commissioner Schriro

Closing Benediction
Bishop Brown

Above:The printed program for the dedication ceremony lies open on attendee's lap in one of excellent photos taken by DOC photographer C. O. Nishaun McCall. Below: Text transcribed from the Benjamin Ward biography that appeared on the back of the printed program. Into the transcribed text, the webmaster has inserted image boxes, with captions, using seven of Officer McCall's photos.

Benjamin Ward
August 10, 1926 — June 10. 2002

Commissioner Schriro reads mayoral proclamation at dedication.

Benjamin Ward was born in Brooklyn’s Weeksville section, one of 11 children — of whom, only five survived childhood illnesses.

After graduating from Brooklyn Automotive Trades High School in 1944, he was drafted and served as an MP and a criminal investigator with the U.S. Army in Europe.

Mr. Ward entered the New York Police Department on June 1. 1951 as a patrolman. becoming the first black officer assigned to Brooklyn’s 80th Precinct.

Capt. Teresa Mack helps Commissioner with Proclamation.

During the next 15 years, he rose through the ranks to Lieutenant, serving in:

  • the Patrol Division,
  • Juvenile Aide Division,
  • Detective Division. and
  • Legal Bureau.

His rise was aided, in part, by after-work studies at Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School that earned him undergraduate and law degrees — invariably with top honors.

He eventually served as Special Legal Counsel to Police Commissioner Howard R. Leary.

Former Mayor Dinkins lends moral support to Ward family.

Ward left the uniformed ranks to become Executive Director of the Civilian Complaint Review Board in 1966.

Two years later he was named Deputy Commissioner of Trials, serving as chief hearing officer in all departmental disciplinary matters.

Later he became Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs with responsibilities for the Youth Aid Division and the Auxiliary Forces Section.

Mary Ward-Markane speaks of her father.

Mayor John V. Lindsay designated Ward as Traffic Commissioner in 1973.

Under his leadership, uniformed traffic controllers took on street duties, thereby freeing hundreds of police officers from traffic direction posts.

The following year he headed up what is now known as the Criminal Justice Agency, which performs all bail risk evaluations.

In 1975, Governor Hugh L Carey named him Commissioner of State Correctional Services, one of the nation’s largest prisons systems, with 20,000 inmates, 20,000 parolees and 12,000 employees.

Overview of dedication ceremony scene at Rikers visit center.

He was the first African American to hold that position.

Three years later, Mayor Edward I. Koch named him to the first of three posts in his administration: Chief of the New York City Housing Authority Police, the fifth largest police department in the state. In August of the following year, he was designated to run the New York City Correction Department, the second African American to head the agency.

Jacqueline McMickens shares memories. She had been Chief of Operations when Ward was named to head NYPD and succeeded him as DOC Commissioner.

Ward served at city Correction until sworn in by Mayor Koch as the city’s 34th Police Commissioner on Jan. 1, 1984.

He was the first African American to hold that position.

His long career didn’t close when he retired from the NYPD on Oct. 22, 1989.

Even in retirement, Ben Ward remained active, teaching and serving on various boards.

He served as an Adjunct Prdfessor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, an Adjunct Professor of Corrections at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and an adjunct professor of the Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

Commissioner Schriro watches as Ward family members pull cord unveiling plaque.

Benjamin Ward passed away on Monday, June 10, 2002. at age 75.

He is survived by his wife, the former Olivia Irene Tucker, a retired New York City public school principal; three daughters, Jacquelyn Ward. Margie Ward-Lewis and Mary Ward-Markane; two sons, Benjamin Jr. and Gregory; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

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