Retired Seattle Police Officers Association


By: Officer Mike Severance – North Precinct

On 9-1-1967 around 9:00 a.m., Officer David P. Richards, 28, was on duty and in his tenth and final day of SPD motorcycle training. The Training Officers, Merle Dickhaut and R. J. Thomas were with four SPD motorcycle officer trainees travelling north on Interstate 5. Mr. Vernon Hammond was in his car behind the police motorcycles. As the motorcycles approached the Bothell Way exit, Hammond observed that the rear wheel of Officer Richards’ motorcycle was wobbling badly. The motorcycle went out of control and hit the left guardrail. The motorcycle flipped, and Officer Richards was thrown some distance. Officer Richards was killed instantly. 

Officer Richards was survived by his wife, Marianne, and his two daughters, Janice and Eileen, He was also survived by his grandparents, parents, and a sister. His funeral was held on September 6, 1967 at Green’s Chapel of the Valley in Redmond. Officer Richards was buried at Cedar Lawns Cemetery in Redmond. At the time of his death, the family lived at 7921 168th Ave. NE in Redmond.
David P. Richards was born on 10-24-1938 in Seattle. He grew up in the Seattle area. He married Marianne Mannell on 10-24-1958. David was a police officer in Redmond for several years. He was a police officer in California for a short time before returning to Washington in 1966. He was commissioned as a Seattle police officer on December 5, 1966. After graduation from the Police Academy, he was assigned to the Traffic Division. David’s daughter, Eileen currently lives in Kirkland.
In May 1998, Chief of Police Norm Stamper nominated 49 Seattle police officers, killed between 1881 and 1976, for the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. Officer David Richards was one of those nominated. Nine of those nominations were rejected, including Officer Richards’ nomination and the nominations of four other SPD motorcycle officers. All five of these motorcycle officers were re-nominated in 2012 and 2013, but the Chief of Police would not endorse the nominations and forward them to the Medal of Honor Committee. Two officers, neither a motorcycle officer, and whose nominations were rejected in 1998, have since been re-nominated and awarded the Medal of Honor.