Parks and Recreation Wiki

David "Dave" Sanderson is a mild-mannered former police officer and the ex-boyfriend of Leslie Knope. He was sent to San Diego after being called to duty in the U.S. Army Reserve.


Season Two

Dave met Leslie after arresting Tom Haverford and helped her to get back into the dating game. He took his police work very seriously, often giving Leslie advice to keep her from breaking the law. He was once pressured by Leslie on Halloween into following Greg Pikitis, eventually catching him defacing Mayor Percy's statue. He often talks to the camera about his personal feelings, usually regretting what he said after the fact. He was enlisted in the US Army Reserve, which led to his unit eventually being called into active duty in San Diego, where he will be doing custodial work for 18 months. Dave asks Leslie in the episode "Christmas Scandal" to move with him to San Diego, and although she was considering it, she ultimately declines and they part ways amicably.

Season Four

Dave returns to Pawnee in the episode "Dave Returns", admitting he's still in love with Leslie. Dave reluctantly steps aside when Leslie assures him that she is in love with Ben.


  • In "Dave Returns", Dave stated that he has come back to Pawnee to apply for the job of Chief of Police following Chief Trumple's retirement. Apparently he either was not offered this job, was offered it and turned it down, or took the job and served a very short tenure as Chief, as the Police Chief in Season 5 was shown to be a man named Fugleberg.
  • Trivia: In "Leslie vs. April," some people think that it is implied that Dave is either related to or has close associations with Joe Biden within the show.
    • Upon Meeting Ben and Leslie, Biden says as he greets the couple, "Hey Ben, Dave told me you were coming by." (Assuming that Ben only knows one person named Dave, that Dave Sanderson never thought of using this connection to give the woman he loves one of the things she most wants, and that Ben reached out to his rival who tried to steal his girlfriend by handcuffing him to a urinal)
  • After accusations toward Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, Mike Schur apologized for casting the actor on Parks and Recreation.