Etienne Caroline, Jr.
“My Mom and I were among the many marchers in the protest of then Governor and Presidential Candidate George Wallace of Alabama for his stand against the admission of Black students to the University of Alabama. My Dad was there to protect the Presidential Candidate.”
Detective & Special Agent
Etienne Caroline joined the Riverside City Police Department as a patrol officer and later became the first Black Detective in the City. Later, he served as Special Agent.
During his service with the Riverside Police Department, he was a member of the security detail guarding President Lyndon Johnson when he spoke at the Riverside County Courthouse, Governor Ronald Reagan during a visit to the city and President Richard Nixon on his arrival and departure from the Riverside Airport.
He was selected as one of a unit assigned to protect presidential candidate George Wallace of Alabama who came to Riverside to speak at the Ramona High School auditorium amid much protest from the Riverside Branch of the NAACP. Huge numbers of citizens marched that night in demonstration of their feelings about the stand of candidate Wallace against the admission of Black students to the University of Alabama and now running as a candidate for president of the United States.
The “Police on Campus” program was the idea of Etienne Caroline. He presented the idea at a meeting with Captain Eugene Fagan of the Riverside Police Department and the Riverside Superintendent of Schools. The plan was to have an officer on campus that occupied an office where students were free to visit and ask questions regarding the law in a friendly atmosphere. When the program was implemented however, it was quite different than what Etienne had presented and the officers were looked upon as an “authority figure” rather than a friend.
When the students at the University of California, Riverside wanted to march in protest of the Vietmam War, Etienne met with the leaders planning the march and assured them they had the right to march in protest without interference. He also assured them that as long as they operated within the law, the police would remain out of site. However, should they break the law, the police would make their presence known. Hundreds of students marched without a single incident.
When Etienne Caroline found out a minister he knew was in need of a church building, he talked with the realtor handling the sale of a small adobe Catholic Church which was no longer being used. He negotiated the price and the church was purchased by Rev. Clinton Conners.
The property where Park Avenue Baptist Church is now located is the result of Etienne Caroline’s encouragement of Pastor L.B. Moss to purchase the land, a private home surrounded by an orange grove. Rev. Moss acted on his advice and the property was developed int the inspirational and spiritual refuge that it in the the community today.
Etienne served on the Board of Directors for the Boys Clubs of Riverside, the NAACP, Developmental Disabilities Area Board 12, the Inland Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled, and for many years at Loma Linda University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.