One of Peoria, Illinois’ favorite daughters – Cynthia A. Parker-Ferguson – retired from the city of Dallas Police Department after over thirty-five (35) years of dedicated public service. Cynthia attended public schools in Peoria and graduated from Peoria High School. She attended Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee and graduated from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale with a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice and Political Science.
Cynthia’s retirement celebration began on Friday, August 11, 2017 with a “Come and Go” reception hosted by her departmental big brother – retired Sergeant Preston Gilstrap. A host of family, friends, co-workers, sorority sisters, and well-wishers enjoyed the festivities. On Saturday, August 12, 2017 a black-tie dinner was attended by 110 guests at the Marriott Quorum Hotel.
Peoria stalwarts were in the house. Cynthia’s school chum – Retired Peoria Police Lieutenant Kenneth Boddie – led a contingent that included Police Lieutenant Earnest McColl and Police Officers Daniel Duncan and Keith McDaniel. Peoria’s former Police Chief John Stenson, who was Cynthia’s former school liaison officer at Peoria High School – called to congratulate her and the call was piped over the speaker system for all to hear.
Accolades were provided by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Dallas Police Deputy Chief of Police Vernon Hale, III, and former executive director of the National Black Police Association – Ronald E. Hampton of Washington D.C.
Special acknowledgements were offered by the Potter’s House of Dallas staff under the direction of Bishop T. D. Jakes. Potter’s House supervisors Dallas Police Sergeants Adrian White and Brent Jones extended best wishes. The Dallas Police Department retirement plaque was presented by Deputy Chief Hale. Sergeant Cletus Judge presented the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas’ Retirement Plaque. Current and former peace officers representing: Chicago, Illinois; Dallas County Sheriff’s Office; Little Rock, Arkansas; New York and New Jersey Port Authorities; Miami; and Washington D.C. witnessed and participated in the retirement celebration.
Cynthia’s sister – Mrs. Rhonda Ruffin (A.J. Guyton’s mother) of Peoria and Ms. Sharon McElrath of Nashville, Tennessee presented Cynthia a “Girls’ Trip” to New York City. Other family members traveled from Illinois, Tennessee, and other parts of Texas. Friends and sorority sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. traveled from Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, and the metroplex for the celebration.
Cynthia also retired from her position as the principal security consultant for Potters House Church of Dallas after twenty-two (22) years of coordinating police services for facility, traffic, and event security for Potter’s House services and events including Mega-Fest, Woman Thou Art Loose, Pastors and Leadership Conferences which attracted more 100,000 attendees, annually.
Cynthia’s closing remarks took her back to Ms. Burdett’s 2nd Grade Class at Lincoln School on that fateful day that she and her classmates learned that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. She recounted how she was honored and proud to be a Dallas Police Sergeant when the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination was observed in Dallas. Cynthia went on to query – “Who would have thought that a little girl from Peoria, Illinois would become part of that history.”
What we in Dallas think of Cynthia A. Parker – Ferguson is summed in the following: “Peoria’s Home Girl Represented and Represents. Thank You, Peoria and Thank You, Cynthia!”