By T. Scott Boatright
According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, the definition of chief is someone “accorded the highest rank or office,” or as someone or something “of the greatest importance or influence.
Because of that, the nickname of “Chief” fit Claude Lamar Aker perfectly.
Surrounded by family, Aker died at the age of 84 in his Grambling home on May 4 following a short illness.
Grambling Mayor Edward Jones remembered Aker during last week’s City Council Meeting.
“Chief Aker was a big part of Grambling,” Jones said. “He was both police chief and fire chief here. And he was also part of the Grambling State University police force. He did much for Grambling in many ways over the years.”
A member of one of the early families who settled in Grambling when it was a fledgling village in the early 1900s, Aker was more than even that for Grambling. .
He also served as president of the Grambling NAACP, an organization in which he was a member for most of his adult life. He also worked with the police force and in maintenance at GSU, and in his retirement years, worked in transportation as a driver for the H.E.L.P. Agency, a Lincoln Parish Police Jury organization that helps the elderly and low income individuals.
Community service was what Aker did best.
Aker attended Grambling College Laboratory elementary and high schools. He received an associate degree in Law Enforcement from Grambling State University and attended the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at Northeast Louisiana University (now known as the University of Louisiana at Monroe).
He was a member of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association, National Black Police Officers Association, Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association, Grambling Chapter of the NAACP, American Criminal Justice Association — Lambda Alpha Epsilon, and the Prince Hall Masons.
As a Grambling native, GSU President Rick Gallot knew of Aker at an early age, but the two especially came close after Gallot had graduated from college.
“He was the police chief when I was first elected to the Grambling City Council,” Gallot said. “So I always considered him my chief.
“And of course, he was always such a delightful person to be around. I never saw him get riled up. He was always just mild-mannered and even-tempered. He was someone that was certainly exemplary in the role of a police officer, always maintaining his calm and cool in all circumstances.”
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