Patrolman Brian Charles Melton

Patrolman Brian Charles Melton

Des Moines Police Department, Iowa

End of Watch Thursday, April 21, 1977

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Brian Charles Melton

Patrolman Brian Melton was shot and killed at the corner of Bowdoin and Grandview Ave. after he and another officer arrested two men for public intoxication.

While walking one of the men to the patrol wagon, a scuffle ensued, and an officer's handgun came free from its holster. The suspect picked up the gun and shot Patrolman Melton in the chest.

The subject was charged with first-degree murder but was acquitted as the defense portrayed him as being the victim of police brutality.

Patrolman Melton had served with the Des Moines Police Department for four years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge 318

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Acquitted of charges

alcohol violation, arrest attempt

Most Recent Reflection

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I was there that day when Brian met his tragic fate. I know he faced it head on with courage and honor for the job he loved and I believe, placed on this earth to do! I met him at the gas station he stopped at regularly in his area where I was working after I graduated from high school and talked with him about the DMPD. I was waiting to apply with the Iowa State Patrol, but Brian said that I should consider joining the Cadet program at DMPD until I was 21 and then decide which way to go. He loved what he was doing, very proud at what he had accomplished, so I applied and was hired.
Brian and I kept in touch, and I rode with him several times on his watch and I could tell he was a good, solid, fair policeman and willing to mentor a green cadet. We became good friends.
After I decided to stay with the DMPD, I rode with him again a time or two during my probation time when my FTO was off. I completed my probation and had my own area. We would talk after roll call a bit about me experiencing what Brian was so proud of when he would stop and talk at the gas station! Our areas were far apart so we hadn’t talked for quite awhile, but on the day of April 21, I was assigned an area close to his and a radio call from him saying, let’s meet. We met, thinking he had some information to share, but he just smiled and said he just wanted to see how I was doing on the job! He was like that always a people person, wondering if he could help. We talked for a short time and went on with our shift. He had stopped a car going back to his area, called for backup and received it quickly, so I started that way when I was free to see if I could help, but soon after I heard the call!
I was very saddened for years after the loss of Brian, but I will never forget his mentorship and guidance. The pain of that day, lessened over the years, but comes back to me from time to time like it was yesterday, but I am glad to say it’s not the sights of the scene I remember as much anymore, but what Brian and I had experienced up until that point in time!
I have thought of Brian every year in April since 1977 and have always been proud to have known such a good soul and fellow police brother.
I am so very blessed to have known him and was able to call him a Friend!

Dan Wesenberg
DMPD #589

May 2, 2024

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