On January 13, 1978, after nearly 30 years of public service, Burtell Jefferson became the first African American to serve as chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C. This profile describes his personal and professional journey and describes—from the perspective of a cadre of active and retired police chiefs and chief executive officers—the impact of Jefferson’s career on the Metropolitan Police Department and policing in America more broadly. Jefferson’s story, an exemplary illustration of public sector leadership, has profound implications for contemporary efforts to ensure the equality of employment opportunity. Jefferson’s career provides a model of effective leadership that is applicable across organizations and sectors. He not only led his organization well but also encouraged and developed generations of future leaders.