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'I hope they see me as an example' | Ankeny's first Black police chief hopes to inspire others

“I hope they see me as an example. I hope they see that we can get to this leadership level,” said Chief Darius Potts.

ANKENY, Iowa — Chief Darius Potts has only been with the Ankeny Police Department for a few years, but step into his office and you see an illustration of his 30-year career, from old badges to pictures.

Potts has spent most of his career in Arizona, until becoming the police chief of the Ankeny Police Department four years ago.

“It’s been cold!” he joked. “It’s been a great experience and I think I’ve been fortunate to have this job.”

When he became chief, he made history in Ankeny, becoming the city’s first Black police chief.

“It was a whole bunch of emotions … one for being a chief, that’s an accomplishment in itself, and being the first African-American chief … that’s a big deal too. I knew what roles I had to play and I knew what position I was in."

His position became more personal for him the last two years, as tensions between Black and brown communities and police grew following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“I’ve been a cop all of my adult life and I’ve been African-American all of my life. When those two things collided two summers ago, that was a very difficult time,” he said.

But Potts knew he needed to have the conversations.

“There’s a lot of navigating and a lot of going and talking to people, talking to my officers, and talking to my family. There’s a lot of people out there who remind me of who I am and what I need to do,” he explained.

Potts said what he wants to continue to do is make a difference through a job he loves and keep caring for the community he serves.

With his historic accomplishment, he hopes to inspire the next generation.

“I hope they see me as an example. I hope they see that we can get to this leadership level."

Potts told Local 5 he loves and enjoys the Ankeny community, especially because he has family ties to the Des Moines area.

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