Homer Garrott; Judge, 1st Black CHP Officer


The first black patrolman in the history of the California Highway Patrol has died.

Homer Garrott, who later retired as a Municipal Court judge, became the patrol’s first African American officer 56 years ago. He was 83 and died Saturday of complications after a stroke, CHP spokesman John Tye said Thursday.

In 1942 Garrott passed his Civil Service examination and remained the only black officer for 13 years. He was assigned to motorcycle duty for most of his 22 years with the CHP.

Garrott attended law school when he was off duty and graduated from Southwestern University School of Law. He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1960 and retired from the CHP four years later to work as a lawyer.


He was a deputy public defender from 1964 to 1967 and a Juvenile Court referee from 1967 to 1968. He served as a Los Angeles Municipal Court commissioner from 1968 to 1973.

In March 1973, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Compton Municipal Court. Garrott retired in 1984, but he continued to serve as a part-time judicial officer. He also served as a Superior Court referee.

Born in Los Angeles, Garrott attended Los Angeles Junior College before joining the Army. He returned home in 1939 to a job as a postal carrier and married Bertha Tabor.

Garrott is survived by his daughter, Diane, a grandson and two sisters. A funeral was scheduled for today at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Rancho Palos Verdes.