Flood Warning

Des Moines Police Honor First, Only Black Captain

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DES MOINES, Iowa - As Black History Month comes to a close, the Des Moines Police Department honored its first and only black police captain Friday morning.

Captain Richard L. Sanders was promoted to his rank at the age of 56. Joining the force in 1962 - at the height of racial tensions - Captain Sanders say his fellow white police officers treated him like a brother. He walked the beat in north Des Moines, where race riots were common at the time, and his fellow officers volunteered to walk with him.

"Everybody gets along well together," he said. "And they look at it, they don't look at it as a 'black officer' or a 'white officer' at the police department. They look at it as a policeman, a police officer. And they all work together, get together, and we're all family."

Captain Sanders retired from the Des Moines Police force in 1993.



  • Clyde

    Ok I give up. Somebody explain racism to me. This to me is racism. Why not honor the guy for just being a captain or an honest policeman, or a role model for all policemen? No they are doing it because he is black. If I were him, I’d be kind of insulted.
    And then the black history month? Why not a Jewish history month? Or a Catholic history month? Or a Mexican history month? We know we can’t have a white history month.

    • Stewart

      First off they’ll say “why you need a White History Month, when every month is White History Month?” Then they’ll turn around and say “African Americans built this country, the white man didn’t do nothin'”. I’M going with; “They all racist up in here”

  • A. S. Fox

    …well, when they honor an DMPD officer as the second, third, fourth or sixtieth black police captain… I’m sure they will drop the “black” part.
    Since Captain Richard Sanders Is the “first and ONLY”…what is wrong with mentioning he is black???
    From what I usually read in the comment sections…this will be an education for all those thinking all DSM blacks are ghetto and welfare bound.
    This way the black community here in DSM knows we have a black police captain…and perhaps the white community that lives in DSM (the suburbs and the outer towns)…will too!
    Knowledge is power…it can raise the even dimmest bulb a few watts!

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.