John Louis Pickens, 69, departed this life on March 11, 2019 at The Villa Hospice. He was born on September 27, 1949 in Anderson, SC to the late Richard and Mable Pickens. He graduated from New Deal High School in Starr, SC. He was a member of the Generostee Baptist Church and attended Sunday School and Baptist Training Activities.
He received a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science from Maryville in St Louis, MO and a Master of Arts in Business Management from Webster University. A lifelong law enforcement career included training at the St Louis Police Academy and Federal Bureau of Investigations Academy as well as A host of organizations including time as the President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE). He also served in the air force for 3 years.
He worked in St Louis City and Uplands Park as a police officer where he earned a promotion to Lieutenant. From there he went on a run where he served as the first Black Chief wherever he went. Those stops included time as Chief of Police in Pine Lawn, MO, the University of Missouri St. Louis, and Chief of Police at Northern Illinois University. A man of many accomplishments, it’s arguable that his most prestigious career appointment came after an intense interview process, he was selected to direct the then largest university in the United States as Chief of Police at Arizona State University. He eventually retired from the police force in 2014 and then became Executive Director of Security at ASU where he served until September 17, 2018.
He leaves to mourn four sons, John Pickens (Tamara), Richard Pickens-Stewart (Donelle), Andre’ Alfred (Gail) and Demetris Alfred (Stephanie); one grandson, six granddaughters, eight great grandchildren; one brother who preceded him in death, James Wade, three sisters Nancy, Shirley, and Pearlie; one brother Joe Louis and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
John will be greatly missed. He made many friends wherever he went.