Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc. — Paul DiGiacomo, President

The DEA Honor Roll

Official Line of Duty Deaths

Claude Daniel Richards

Claude Dan Richards

Rank: Detective, Second Grade

Shield Number: 227

Command: Bomb Squad

Date of Death: 09/11/2001

Cause of Death: World Trade Center Attack

Everything about 46-year old Det. Claude Daniel Richards — his bearing, his demeanor, his reserve, and his professionalism — reflected his training and his former service as a member of the elite U. S. Army Airborne Ranger Corps. He served in the military from 1977 through 1980 and was a member of the Presidential Honor Guard.

On September 11, 2001, he rushed into the 6 World Trade Center building as a member of the NYPD Bomb Squad and he died a hero twice: as a New York City Detective Second Grade, and as a military veteran caught in an unprecedented act of warfare.

Richards lived in Greenwich Village and was only on his second day back on the job from taking a short leave to bury his brother Bill, who died a few weeks earlier from the complications of being a double amputee Vietnam War veteran.

Det. Richards loved to travel and would fly out of town on a moment’s notice, jetting off to Paris or elsewhere for a weekend. He was private and reserved, but generous in spirit and so even tempered that he never held a grudge.

Born and raised in Bethpage, Long Island, Richards was appointed to the NYPD on January 3, 1983. In 1986, he was assigned to the old Arson & Explosion Division (members were later merged into the Bomb Squad) under the Special Investigations Division. Richards quickly distinguished himself as an expert bomb technician and was granted his gold shield July 21, 1989. He earned second grade on December 20, 2000.

Richards worked on major cases such as the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the TWA Flight 800 disaster, the case of the retail store fire-bomber in Queens, and the case of a madman named Leary who exploded an incendiary device in a New York City subway train. He took a leave of absence from September 1996 to October 1997 to serve as a member of the United Nations International Police Task Force in Bosnia, and this experience contributed greatly to his role as the Bomb Squad’s Intelligence Coordinator, a position which required him to work hand-in-hand with many other government agencies, such as the Secret Service, the ATF and the State Department.

He was remembered by his colleagues for his expertise, his leadership and as, “a keystone member of the unit and a role model for other Detectives.” Even after Richards’ death, Squad members often recall him in the present tense, proof that their colleague is still very much alive in their hearts.

West Street between Morton and Barrow Streets in Greenwich Village, Manhattan is named “Detective Claude ‘Danny’ Richards Way” in his honor.

Click on the pdf file link below to read about Det. Richards in The Gold Shield, December 2001 issue.

Vigiano and Richards The Gold Shield 2001


Click here to view the biography of Det. Claude (Dan) Richards that appeared in the December 2001 edition of the DEA’s The Gold Shield magazine.

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