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“Dirty Harry”, the most decorated officer in WPD history, retires

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)-A police officer who served the city of Wichita for more than 43 years presented him with his badge.

Robert “Bob” Bachman spent his last day as a patrol officer on Thursday, and the city threw a retirement party for him on Friday afternoon.

He joined the Wichita Police Department (WPD) in February 1980. He was only a rookie for months before Officer Paul Garofalo was killed.

That murder was one of the reasons Bachman had zero tolerance for crime. One of the people in his circle nicknamed him “Dirty Harry”, after Clint Eastwood’s famous cop. The name stuck. KSN News did a story about him in 2019 as he approached 40 years with the WPD.

But that wasn’t the only reason Bachman will be remembered. During nearly all of his years with the department, he worked in the North Patrol area and knew the residents by name. After 43 years he also knows many of their children and grandchildren.

Bachman was one of the first officers to initiate the Special Olympics Torch Run, an original member of the SWAT team, the SCAT team, the Drive-by Task Force and many other special units.

In a Facebook post, the WPD called him “the man, the myth, the legend” and said it’s hard to sum up such a legendary figure.

The Facebook post includes his last call since the expedition. Click here to listen to it.

“Agent Bachman leaves the department as, deservedly, the most decorated officer in WPD history and will be deeply missed,” the dispatcher said.

During Friday’s retirement party, senior officers congratulated Bachman on his retirement and wished him well. One notable figure was Richard LaMunyon, who was the Chief of Police when Bachman joined the WPD.

“I remember the day after he was hired and the kind of guy he is, the police officer he was going to be and has become,” LaMunyon said. “I’ve also found that with the Bob Bachmans of the world, anyone who has those kinds of people in their department makes their main job super easy.”

“Bob has given this community, our department, everything you should truly be as a professional law enforcement officer,” he said.

Bachman said he never wanted to move up the ranks of the department.

“I loved being a patrol officer. I was good at that,” she said. “I had no desire to move up and get involved in politics once you start moving up the ranks.”

Bachman says he worked in areas of the city that were extremely rough in the ’80s and ’90s. He dealt with gang members and saw the influx of crack cocaine when he arrived in Wichita. He was asked how things have changed.

“The crimes are the same, but we don’t have as many, Wichita doesn’t have as much drug dealing as it used to, but we still have our moments,” he said.

She said her best advice for patrol officers is just to get out there and do their job.

“Be enthusiastic, work hard and learn from your superior officers.”

As for his retirement, Bachman may not be done serving the community.

“I might join the Reserve, help teach some more defensive tactics, and maybe go out and ride some more,” Bachman said.

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