SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Rev. William Hines, Shreveport’s first black police officer, died Wednesday. He was 87.

Hines, who joined Shreveport’s police force in 1954, had been hospitalized since Saturday and died May 14, his wife, Marie Hudson Hines, tells KSLA-TV.

Hines’ employment came 10 years before the Civil Rights Act ended all state and local laws requiring segregation. He walked his beat for four years in black neighborhoods before Hines and another black officer, Joe Johnson, were given a patrol car.

Hines served on the force for more than 21 years and successfully brought and won a class-action lawsuit forcing the department to promote more black officers and allow them to work in more areas of the department and the city. He retired in 1975.

“Bill Hines was a true trailblazer not only for the police department but for our entire city,” Mayor Cedric Glover said. “The courage it took for him to maintain his professionalism and stay focused on doing the job that he was called to do during a time when racism was overt and obvious is something that very few of us can actually imagine, let alone relate to.

“So, the debt of gratitude we owe him for the sacrifices he made is one that can never be fully repaid.”

In 1978, Hines entered the ministry and most recently served as pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Shreveport. He also served in the U.S. Army in Korea and Japan and, following his discharge, served in the U.S. Army Reserves for more than 20 years. He was elected as a post commander in the American Legion, where he was chaplain.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children and eight grandchildren.