Richard A. "Dick" Price, a retired Sacramento sheriff's captain and firearms expert who was active in the sport of single action shooting, died Nov. 28 of leukemia complications, his family said. He was 73.
Mr. Price joined the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department in 1965 after a brief stint with the California State Police. A member of the sheriff's original honor guard, he climbed the ranks in patrol, robbery, forgery and other units and attended the FBI Academy in Virginia. He was promoted to captain in 1984 and oversaw investigations.
He stood out as a big, well-built guy with a booming voice who "dressed to perfection," former Sacramento County Undersheriff Larry Stamm said. He was a colorful figure who tracked down suspects with enthusiasm and moved in to make arrests with a trademark catchphrase: "Let's get 'em."
"He used to show up early for work to be sure he was well prepared for the day to go after the bad guys," Stamm said. "Then he stayed late every day to make sure he had done things right so that he could start again early the next day."
An expert marksman, Mr. Price was knowledgeable about many types of firearms. He belonged to the sheriff's pistol team from 1965 to 1972 and the sheriff's trap and skeet team from 1972 to 1992.
He was on a five-man team that won a gold medal in skeet shooting at the Police Olympics in Australia in 1988. He collected firearms and worked at local gun stores after retiring from the Sheriff's Department in 1989.
Mr. Price was an early enthusiast of single action shooting also known as cowboy action shooting a growing sport in which participants adopt the persona and costume of an Old West character and compete in timed shooting events.
He joined the Single Action Shooting Society and cofounded the River City Regulators, a Yolo County shooting club, in 1990.
He helped organize other single action shooting clubs and co-hosted the event at the 2003 Pan Pacific Senior Games. As "Diamond Dick," he fired vintage revolvers, rifles and handguns at single action shooting competitions throughout the West.
"Dick was very good," said Mike Calvo, a retired Sutter County's sheriff's captain and SASS member. "He dressed a lot in military uniforms of the period, particularly in cavalry uniforms. He looked very good in cavalry blue."
Born in 1939 in Modesto, Richard Arlen Price began shooting competitively at 10. He met his wife, Beverly, at Modesto Junior College, and they married in 1963.
He served in the California National Guard and worked at a Sacramento camera store before going into law enforcement. He had two sons with his wife, a longtime Sacramento City schoolteacher, and lived in Sacramento.
Mr. Price enjoyed the camaraderie of law enforcement. He helped found the Bruce Verhoeven Foundation, a nonprofit group that assists families of slain peace officers.
"He never met a stranger," his wife said. "If we went out to dinner, he'd be visiting with the next table. He was a very friendly person who enjoyed everything he did."