Alex Ivanisevic Des Moines Register Published 9:04 PM EDT Oct 13, 2018 The first black officer to reach the rank of captain in the Des Moines Police Department died this week. Capt. Richard “Dick” L. Sanders passed away Wednesday at age 83. Sanders was promoted in 1991 to captain. “I hope this will inspire other officers to work hard and to know that they can go all the way if they apply themselves,” he said after his promotion. Prior to joining the police force, he served in the United State Air Force from 1954 until 1957. Sanders began his career with the police department in 1962. He said he did not experience racial discrimination by other officers. During the race riots of the 1960s, Sanders walked a beat on the north side of Des Moines. It was an uncomfortable time to be a police officer, and Sanders said white officers volunteered to walk with him. More: Read Capt. Sanders’ obituary, which ran in the Register’s Thursday and Friday print editions “I’ve always been good with people and that’s helped me,” Sanders said. “I’ve always had good rapport.” Sanders retired in 1993. In 2015, the department honored him with a certificate of appreciation for his 31 years of service with the force. A funeral service was held on Friday afternoon at Des Moines’ Grace Church, followed by a burial with honors at Glendale Cemetery.