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April 21, 2014

Floyd Bartch, retired Kansas City police chief, dies at 73

Bartch, known as a quiet, thoughtful leader who resolved longstanding pay inequities for officers, died Friday. He worked 31 years for the Police Department, including nearly four years in the top job, before retiring in 1999.

Retired Kansas City Police Chief Floyd Bartch, known as a quiet, thoughtful leader who resolved longstanding pay inequities for officers, died unexpectedly Friday at age 73.

He worked 31 years for the Police Department, including nearly four years in the top job, before retiring in 1999.

Until his death, Bartch served on the department’s retirement board as vice president and volunteered regularly at a soup kitchen. He appeared in good health but wasn’t feeling well Friday. He laid down for a nap and died in his sleep, possibly from a heart attack, police officials said.

While chief, Bartch enjoyed wide support from the rank and file. He worked hard to reinstate raises after a six-year hiatus, prompting 500 officers to sign a card thanking him. They surprised him with the oversized card at a meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners.

Unlike his predecessor, who wore a uniform with a .40-caliber gun on his hip, Bartch favored a suit and tie and no visible firearm. He spent much of his career in the fiscal bureau and was known for being kind, humble and personal.

Bartch showed up at one officer’s house after the officer’s baby was born with life-threatening health problems. Bartch didn’t know the officer personally, but Bartch and his wife knocked on the officer’s door, bearing a homemade cake and offering moral support.

Bartch is survived by his wife, three children and eight grandchildren. His three children work as leaders in the Police Department.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, 1600 N. Missouri 291 in Liberty, with the funeral immediately following.

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