DES MOINES, Iowa — History in the making. “Unprecedented. Probably never done in the history of the police department,” said Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert.

On Wednesday, 18 staff members within the Des Moines Police Department will step up in rank on the same day. The most in one day in DMPD’s 150-plus-year history. “The citizens of Des Moines are in very good hands.”

On the monumental day, one member of the department, in particular, is building a career filled with breaking the glass ceiling as a woman and overcoming racial barriers. Wingert said, “Major Lillie Miller will be the first female African-American Major in the history of the police department.”

It will also make Miller the highest-ranking African-American in the department’s history but all 18 will continue to leave a special mark. “In this police department we don’t give away ranks and we don’t give away titles you have to earn it. You have to earn it through your actions, through your dedication and your commitment,” said Wingert.

The historic day for DMPD will see the promotion of six Sergeants, five Lieutenants, four Captains, and three Majors. While their ranks may differ Chief Wingert says all have one common nickname in and outside of the department. “They are role models within this building and role models in this community.”

It’s also a community that two years ago saw people gather in solidarity for police reform across the country and here in Des Moines. There’s no doubt it took its toll on the profession and the state’s largest police force was no different. Wingert said, “We’ve had a handful of people leave under those circumstances the really impressive thing is this group of eighteen despite everything that has happened in the last few years with civil unrest and the pandemic and other challenges law enforcement has faced these 18 stepped up.”

Stepping into a new leadership role but with plenty of experience. “Collectively these eighteen have over three-hundred and fifty years of law enforcement experience with the Des Moines Police Department,” Wingert said.

A department that is embracing new change for a changing community. “That’s what these 18 represent. That’s what is so exciting about this time for the Des Moines Police Department. The future looks very bright.

The promotions will take place inside the World Food Prize Building on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.