BLEA HistoryRooted in the city of Houston and founded by three Police officers, the creation of BLEA was inspired after a number of deadly police-citizen interactions. In addition, the release of information listed in the Department of Justice (2015) report following the Michael Brown case confirmed that the relationship between communities of color and the police have become even more strained than before.
Historically the Black and Brown communities of our country have been disproportionately impacted by law enforcement over the years. Many people in minority communities believe Justice is not equal under the law, and there will be no peace until justice is served equally for all. It is from this belief that the BLEA was created. Co-founders Bruce Owdley, and Eric Carr, M.A., are Detectives with one of the largest metropolitan police departments in the U.S. They believe they have discovered a major solution to addressing problems between police and citizen interaction, the over incarnation rate in minority communities, and the under-representation of minorities in law enforcement careers.
In February 2014, they discussed how great it would be to start their own nonprofit organization, which would include a coalition of criminal justice professionals, community leaders, educators, and business owners working together for positive changes in law enforcement. In 2015, they became board members with their local African American police union to help improve police relations, and to support policy and laws that improve fairness and diversity in the workplace. They eventually worked their way up from active board members, eventually becoming the President and Vice President of their African American police union.
In February 2017, Det. Carr and Det. Owdley began to see their desire for combined action between law enforcement and the community they serve really take shape after working with other criminal justice professionals, educators, business owners and community leaders. In the Spring of 2018, they teamed up with Senior Police Officer,Marquese Walker, Psy D., LPCi, who had a passion for promoting mental health. They eventually came together, founded the Black Law Enforcement Association (BLEA), with the goal, and desire to build a coalition to make a positive impact on this and future generations.
Meet the Founders
Bruce Owdley, PhD
BLEA President and Co-Founder
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Texas Southern University, a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University, a graduate certificate in Administration of Justice from Midwestern State University, and PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Security.
President Owdley is an advanced TCOLE licensed instructor, TCOLE Certified Cyber-crime Investigator, Certified Fraud Specialist, and Certified Fraud Examiner. He is currently assigned as a detective with the Houston Police Department’s Cyber-Financial Crimes Division.
He possesses several industry certifications and teaches courses at the Houston Police Department in Identity Theft, Burglary and theft, and Financial Crimes investigations, and is a licensed mediator trained by the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center.
He has held several executive board positions in many fraternal and industry organizations through his lifetime, including: the Afro American Police Officer’s League (AAPOL) (Vice-President & Secretary), the Association of Certified Fraud Specialist (ACFS) (President), President of the Houston Gunners, Houston Police Department Football Team, and inaugural board member for the Houston Chapter of Association of Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist (ACAMS), Vice Basileus for Nu Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Worshipful Master for Sons of Solomon Lodge # 8. He is a proud Air Force veteran and firmly believes in family and spiritual empowerment.
Eric K. Carr
BLEA Vice-President and Co-Founder
Eric moved to Texas in 2001 and is currently a 16-year veteran with his currently agency. Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from University of Houston Downtown, and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Prairie View A&M University. Eric is an award-winning investigator with the Houston Police Department, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s Houston Chapter. Eric is Community Affairs Liaison to the African American community, who conducts presentations to civic organizations, faith-based groups, and community centers on police and citizen interactions, traffic stops, and financial education. Eric is the Executive Director of the Afro American Police Officers’ League, a board member on Texas Lieutenant Governor’s Law Enforcement Advisory Committee (2017), a member of the Houston Youth Violence Prevention Coalition, a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and the National Financial Educators Council. Eric is a certified Mental Health Officer (Advanced TCOLE) and a certified Mediator (DRC).
In 2012, he became a certified Law Enforcement instructor and most recently, took his fieldwork to the classroom by becoming an adjunct Professor at Texas Southern University where he mentors students and encourages them to think innovatively. Most importantly, Eric is a man of faith, devoted husband, and father dedicated to making a difference.
BLEA Executive Chair and Co-Founder
He transitioned to full-time police work, beginning a career with the Houston I.S.D Police Department as an adjunct police officer, then coming onboard the Houston Police Department in January of 2002. He spent his first years in patrol, assigned to North Patrol. During his career, Marquese was a Field Trainer and Field Trainer Evaluator. In this role he trained probationary police officer(s) with practical real-life simulation. He evaluated final stages for patrol readiness, use of city vehicles, equipment, firearm weapons use, public awareness, prisoner control, applicable laws, and filing charges.
He finally settled in an administrative position within the Department’s Burglary and Theft Division. Officer Walker has his bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and master’s degree in Counseling and Theology from Columbia Southern University and Houston Graduate School of Theology respectively. He is also pursuing his Doctor of Psychology, (PsyD).
Marquese is currently an LPC intern with Enlightened Psychotherapy and is seeking his LPC State license. He has gained experience in a broad range of clinical issues, with behavior assessments and case management. He provides individual counseling to teens, adolescents, adults, and families on a full range of human issues with underlying determinants or behaviors. He has a membership with the American Counseling Association and the Texas Counseling Association.
Marquese is a proud Christian, husband, and father, who has committed his life to helping others in need.