DES MOINES, Iowa -- During a small ceremony on Thursday afternoon, the Des Moines Police Department presented one of its officers with a big honor.
“No, actually I feel like a bird now with the wings on,” said Doua Lor.
Lor is a 20-year veteran of the department, and finally got his wings on Thursday as he was promoted to sergeant.
“Well, I tell you what, I was very emotional. I shed a little tear. It’s a dream come true. I want to tell you, it’s a dream come true,” said Sergeant Lor.
Lor is one of just eight Asian officers the department has, and he plays an important role in race relations for the police.
“I have to go out there to build that trust to bridge that barrier. To be the bridge between them and the police department,” he said.
He’s done exactly what he set out to do. You can find Sergeant Lor at community events across the metro, and those who know him best--like Som Baccam--know he is the reason Asian relations have improved over the last decade.
“He is a great resource for our community because he speaks Laotian, Hmong, and even Thai. So he can speak those languages and that helps a lot,” said Baccam, of the Iowa Asian Alliance.
Sergeant Lor has been a great resource for the city. He helped launched the Asian Outreach program in 2007 and now is the main officer running the program, but it has taken a while for him to get where he is now. Lor came to America as a refugee in the late 70s and didn't know much about the area. So when he got his badge, he knew he wanted to make it easier for the Asian refugees that would follow him.
“I want to establish a connection between the Asian community and the police department. I want to build that Asian outreach connections. That’s my goal. We just accomplished that,” said Lor.
Sergeant Lor will celebrate his 20th anniversary in June and plans to have a small gathering with his family.