Saundra Brown: First Black Woman On The OPD To Earn Presidential Nomination To The United States District Court

By Duchess Magazine

Saundra Brown, now Saundra Brown Armstrong, became the the first black woman on the Oakland Police Force (OPD). At that time, she was one of only seven female police officers on the force.

Armstrong served with the Oakland Police between 1970 and 1977, and is now a Senior Judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Born on March 23, 1947, the woman who has been in the public service for over five decades, received an Associate of Arts degree from Merritt College in 1967, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fresno in 1969.

She received a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1977, and from where she became a judicial extern at California Court of Appeals in 1977, as well as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California from 1978 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1982.

From 1979 to 1980, she was a senior consultant to the California Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice. A trial attorney of Public Integrity Section of the United States Department of Justice from 1982 to 1983, and then served as a Commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1983 to 1986.

Saundra Brown getting instructions on how to fire a gun. Image credit: Facebook

Brown later served on the United States Parole Commission from 1986 to 1989. She was also a Judge on the Alameda Superior Court, California from 1989 to 1991.

On April 25, 1991, Armstrong was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California vacated by William Austin Ingram. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 14, 1991, and received her commission on June 18, 1991.

 The Oakland, California native assumed senior status  on March 23, 2012.

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