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Hero Down: Kirksville Police Chief Steven Farnsworth Dies After Heart Attack

Kirksville, MO – Kirksville Police Department (KPD) Chief Steven Farnsworth was found dead at his home on Sunday, nearly one week after he suffered a heart attack and had a stent put in his heart.

Chief Farnsworth appeared to be doing well after his surgery, and was released from the hospital on Oct. 7, KTVO reported.

Later that week, he stopped by KPD for a visit.

An autopsy is scheduled to take place on Wednesday in order to determine what caused Chief Farnsworth’s death, KTVO reported.

“Steve was a wonderful public servant and dear man,” Kirksville Mayor Zac Burden told the Kirksville Daily Express in the wake of the veteran officer’s sudden death.

“His commitment to public safety, justice, and his team made him an outstanding chief of police,” Burden said. “I know I am far from alone in saying that Steve will be truly missed.”

The KPD said in a Facebook post that Chief Farnsworth “was a champion of community policing” who would be “sorely missed by the community he served.”

Chief Farnsworth, an Iowa native, played football at St. Ambrose College before graduating with a degree in criminal justice, according to his obituary.

He joined the KPD as a patrol officer on June 9, 1986.

Chief Farnsworth received numerous promotions during his decades of service, and spent time serving as a community policing officer, DARE instructor, and school resource officer, among various other positions and assignments.

He had been serving as the KPD police chief since June 3, 2019, according to his obituary.

Chief Farnsworth had never missed a single day of work when he hit his 30th anniversary with the KPD in 2016, the Ottumwa Courier reported.

He also spent 32 years officiating high school football games, and was named the Missouri High School Official of the Year in 2010, according to his obituary.

“Steve had a great passion for the Special Olympics by participating in the Annual Torch Run and Polar Bear Plunge,” the tribute read. “Steve knew no stranger and made time for everyone. Always bringing a smile to faces wherever he went.”

Chief Farnsworth leaves behind his sons, Keaton and Nathan, as well as his mother, siblings, niece, nephews, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He will be laid to rest on Saturday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Kirksville Police Department Chief Steven Farnsworth, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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