Michigan State Police (Ret.)
Owner and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Harold J. Love & Associates
Since 2020, there has been an alarming rise in the number of election officials — the stewards of our democracy — being the subject of violence, threats and intimidation. Recently, one in six election officials have reported experiencing threats because of their jobs, and three out of four reported knowing colleagues who have experienced threats.
In recognition of Black History Month and the upcoming 2024 election cycle, we sat down with Harold Love, a member of CSSE and retired Michigan State Police officer to recognize the critical role that Black election officials and law enforcement play in our democracy and keeping our elections safe and secure.
Can you describe your current or past role?
I served 25 years with the Michigan State Police from 1988–2013, retiring as a captain. I served in different capacities from trooper to captain in communities throughout lower Michigan.
With respect to the Black experience in America and your being a member of CSSE, can you expound on the importance of ensuring that our elections are free, fair, and secure?
With the challenges to ensure racial equality and social justice that Black Americans continue to face, ensuring that our elections are free, fair, and secure is of the utmost importance. The progress we have made as a nation has been due to the relentless efforts of Black Americans and others who advocate for equality and social justice. Those efforts will always be under attack by those who wish to preserve the ability of some to control politics and marginalize the voices and power of Black Americans and other minorities.
Do you see a need for more Black representation in your field? If yes, why do you want to see more Black representation in your field?
Yes. We need more Black representation in the criminal justice field to increase and institutionalize cultural competence and empathy among law enforcement organizations throughout the country.
This is necessary in order for the members of those organizations to effectively serve their communities with justice and fundamental fairness. It is also necessary in order to improve police and community relations, and improve public perception of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
Can you share some of your proudest accomplishments in your field and highlight specific actions you have taken to support and advance democracy?
- Honored with the district trooper of the year and leadership award in my second year with the department.
- Sarcastically nicknamed the “stepfather of Niles, MI” by my fellow troopers because of the positive mentoring relationships I developed with members of the community. These relationships garnered respect for me from teens and adults, which made me a very effective investigator and community police officer.
- Served as a public information officer and incident commander for numerous high-profile investigations, critical incidents, and planned events during my tenure as a lieutenant and Captain.
- Served as the personal escort for King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of the Asante Region of Ghana, West Africa in 2001, then accepted his invitation to visit the palace in 2003.
- Served as a command officer and media liaison with the Michigan contingent for the Hurricane Katrina relief deployment to New Orleans in 2005.
- Served as supervisor or incident commander for numerous dignitary visits from Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
- Double promoted from first lieutenant to captain in 2008.
- Served as a member of Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust (ALPACT) and co-chaired from 2010 to 2012.
- Currently, serving on the board of directors for the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion since 2017.
Do you have any other thoughts that you would like to share about Black History Month?
Black History Month serves as a reminder of the achievements and contributions Black Americans have made to society and America in particular. The unwillingness of many in our society to promote or even acknowledge the untold stories of the remarkable inventions, discoveries, triumphs, and contributions Black Americans have made in the face of some of the most unjust, intense, and inhumane opposition makes Black History Month a necessity.