Friday, January 14, 2011

Saying good-bye to one of our own

Tomorrow, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department will formally say good-bye to an excellent detective who has served and protected his community selflessly for the last 26 years. Detective Garry Wantland passed away January 12 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Until his diagnosis, Detective Wantland didn’t use a sick day for 25 years.

Detective Wantland has received more than 100 commendations in his career here, but most of his work was done quietly and effectively behind the scenes. He was assigned to the Intelligence Unit at the time of his death and had been there for the last 16 years. He was the experts’ expert on organized crime in Kansas City. He even created his own training program on the history of organized crime here, and federal agencies often called him for his expertise.

He served on a task force with the FBI investigating all types of large-scale, complex, criminal operations. One of his FBI supervisors called him “a critical asset to the Kansas City Division’s Organized Crime Program,” and another said he loved to pair young agents with Detective Wantland because of all he could teach them. That supervisor also said, “If today I could choose one police officer to work within my division, it would certainly be Garry Wantland.”

Garry was the kind of guy who showed up early and left late, painstakingly hunting down every lead. He was well-liked and respected, and his untimely loss is a tremendous blow not only to our department and its investigations but to the many people here whose lives he touched. I ask that you please keep his family, friends and coworkers in your thoughts and prayers.

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