Carolyn Taylor Pates
City of Miami Police Department

The year was 1966 and the City was plagued with social injustice and unwavering discrimination. As in many other cities throughout the country, the 60s were a time of both great adversity and great accomplishments for African-Americans. One of which being the hiring of Carolyn Taylor Pates as the first black police and fire dispatcher. A woman of color it was her considerable training and experience with the police department and her job as a public safety officer that afforded her the opportunity to hold a position previously reserved for her white counterparts. 

Responsible for the creation of the signal “QAH” which means, to hold the air, stop communicating when an officer might need immediate attention. Carolyn directed numerous assignments to include the dispatcher for the air cargo plane that crashed in 1972 (Christmas trees all over 36th Street) officer safety was her main effort and no lives were lost during her tour of duty. Carolyn left the department to become an entrepreneur in 1988.