Plainview, TX – Wayland Baptist University Chief of Police Lonnie Burton died in the line of duty on June 25, when he suffered complications related to a knee surgery to repair an injury he sustained on the job.
Chief Burton, 64, fell from a curb outside the Wayland Baptist University Police Department on May 18, resulting in his knee injury, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The nature of the surgical complications was not released.
“The Wayland Baptist University family was saddened by the loss of WBU Police Chief Lonnie Burton,” the university said in a statement on its website. “Burton was key in building the Wayland force.”
After serving the Plainview Police Department for over 32 years, Chief Burton helped form the private university’s police department, and was the first to serve as its chief.
“In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2006, the Texas legislature passed a law enabling private colleges, like Wayland, to commission and maintain a police force,” the university’s website read. “Until that time, only state schools had been allowed to do so.”
Chief Burton, a Wayland Baptist University graduate, was instrumental in the effort to successfully implement the department, and stepped into the role as the agency’s leader in 2009.
“I came here to study law enforcement,” he told the Plainview Daily Herald in 2008. “That is what they called it back then.”
At the time, Chief Burton had been providing night security and working at the university’s sporting events for 15 years – long before the school’s police department was ever formed.
“I’ve been affiliated with the school in one capacity or another since ’72. This is one way I can give back to the university,” Chief Burton said.
“Lonnie loved to visit with his Wayland Baptist University students and get to know all of them,” his obituary read.
His wife of 37 years, Kathy, works in the school’s business office, according to the university.
Chief Burton also leaves behind his daughter, Jennifer, his son, Justin, his father, Verdell, and three grandchildren, his obituary read.
He was laid to rest on June 29.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Wayland Baptist University Chief of Police Lonnie Burton, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.