DES MOINES, Iowa -- Robert Stanton is a trailblazer within the Polk County Sheriff's Office, now serving as its first African-American chief.
"I am humbled and honored that I have the opportunity and the privilege to serve as a law enforcement officer in the community I was raised. It`s a surreal moment," he says.
Stanton, who is a 20 year veteran of the Polk County Sheriff's Office, was promoted on Thursday. He was recognized as the first African-American chief within the sheriff's office history. With his new badge as chief, he'll oversee the day-to-day operations of the jail.
"I had the fortunate opportunity of getting to work with Bob since he was a brand new guy at the jail," says Sheriff Kevin Schneider. "We worked in the old jail together and I've seen him come up though the ranks and I'm so proud of him, words cannot express."
With the new rank comes more responsibility. Chief Stanton is a recent graduate of the FBI National Academy.
"Everything I do in this job , I try to do it just and fair," says Stanton. He hopes this history making moment can inspire others in the future. "If I can be a face for a young person of color to give them inspiration to get into law enforcement, that would be great."
Stanton is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. The group was launched in Polk County two years ago as a way for officers of color to help bridge the gap with minorities in the community. The sheriff's office also announced its plans to promote Sergeant Keith Onley to Lieutenant next month. Onley is also African-American.