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NYPD Detective Claude D. Richards

NYPD Detective Claude D. Richards

Died September 11, 2001
World Trade Center Attack

Detective Claude Richards was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while attempting to rescue the victims trapped in the World Trade Center. Det. Richards was searching for survivors in the World Trade Center’s Building Six, when Tower One collapsed, costing him his life. Other officers killed alongside Det. Richards were Officer John Dallara and Sgt. Michael Curtin, both of Emergency Services. Det. Richards was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department’s Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.

Det. Richards was a member of the NYPD’s bomb squad. Working of the bomb squad can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. But there was something about Det. Richards, known to friends and family as Dan, that made his colleagues feel safe. “It’s a great comfort to be working with someone you can trust,” said Det. Daniel McNally, a friend and colleague of Dan’s since their first day of the police academy in 1983. “It would sound very cliché to say he died as he lived, helping people,” said McNally. “The guy was a NYC detective who was on the bomb squad for 15 years. He had placed his life in harm’s way many, many times. This is just another time that tempted fate.”

Dan grew up in Bethpage and had lived for many years in Manhattan and Bethpage. He was a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger and a member of the Presidential Honor Guard during the Carter Administration. His work was his life, according to his brother, Jim. “I think he would have liked to have had more of a family life, but he found his family with the bomb squad,” he said. Dan worked long hours, even on his days off, and was known for his meticulousness. He was a member of the United Nations International Police Task Force in 1996 that served in Bosnia to disarm land mines. Although his first love may have been his work, Dan, who was one of seven children, would make time for family. Three weeks before 9/11, his older brother, Bill, a Vietnam veteran who had lost both his legs, died. On his days off, Dan lived in Bethpage with Bill to help him out. “One word to describe Dan is honor,” Jim proclaimed. “Dan honored his family, profession, and country with many unselfish acts.”

Detective Claude Richards was 46 years old from New York.

Original portrait was presented November 24, 2013 to his family during a special event held in New York City and hosted by the Lead the Way Foundation

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