Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer Richard Joseph Barth

Downers Grove Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Monday, March 18, 1974

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Reflections for Officer Richard Joseph Barth

Thinking of my uncle who just got back from Vietnam. Wow! He survived an overseas war but was shot dead defending his own community where he lives. At that time there were no bullet proof vests. Still remember the day we had a half day of school, when we got home we heard about a police officer going to my grandma’s house to tell her the news. We lived a lot away. My sister and I were called into the school office to listen to the principal saying that you need to be strong for your Mother. Spent the rest of the week at the Toon Funeral Home witnessing the line of police officers and others paying their respects for the only police officer killed in the line of duty in Downers Grove, Illinois. Then watching the parade of police cars going to the Queen of Heaven Cemetery blaring sirens. I know that you lived the life you were chosen to do. But I wished I could have known you better because I was just 9 years old when you went to heaven. I know you , Mom and Grandma are my guardian angels always looking and watching out for me. Miss you all !!

Margaret Todd RN

March 5, 2023

Rest in peace Officer Barth.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

December 29, 2019

Ofc Richard "Dick" Barth and I started our police careers in Aug. 1972. We were roommates in the police academy at the University of Illinois for 10 weeks. During this time I learned a lot from him as he was the kindest and most compassionate person I ever met. After his tragic death on March 18th,1974 I was determined to live my career in his honor. When faced with situations I would ask myself how would Dick handle himself under these conditions? I always felt that Dick was with me every time I put on the uniform during my 27 year career. Dick, I will never forget you. Someday we will be patrolling together again! God bless you.

Sgt Bill Porter Rey
Downers Grove PD Co worker and best friend

March 17, 2019

I wasn't born yet when your life was taken. But as an Auxiliary officer for the village I learned a lot about you, especially from my Sgt. and your friend who served with you. Bill has since retired, he spoke very fondly of you, I know you and him were very close.

I have lost track of Bill, but I know you are in his heart as well as those others who have followed your noble cause.

I had the honor of attending memorial services at Barth Pond in your remembrance. The village of DG is a wonderful place that lost a hero that dark day.

Even now as I have left the department many years ago, I look back and remember your name. You are not forgotten.

Auxirarly Steve Ouellette
Downers Grove Policed Department

March 31, 2017

One last thing, it was always my great privilege along with hundreds of others to sign the petition at the 7-11 at Ogden and Main to keep that kid in prison another three years. My only regret is you are not with us and that kid is out of prison now.

Life long Du Page County resident

February 26, 2017

I always remember Richard Barth and the sacrifice of he and his family in March or when I drive by Barth Park as I call it. He was the real police and that is evident when you carefully study his photo. Growing up in a suburb to the west of Downers on Ogden Ave., times were different then. When this incident happened, the whole of Du Page County was in an uproar. They wanted answers and most of all they wanted accountability. You do not kill policemen or anyone else in this County even by today's standards.

But I am amazed to this day how your fellow lawmen on the task force solved this case. By your radio transmissions, it was known that you were engaging with juvenile offenders you encountered in a park and thought responsible for a focible residential burglary. So the investigators checked with the local schools to determine who was NOT in school and the case fell into place pretty quickly after interviews with those missing students. Maybe its not as impressive as I think but I knew some of those cops from school and they were always good thinking, common sense guys. This year we remember you along with your family and we thank you for your service, sacrifice and for all the good work our Du Page County lawmen and women perform every day. May God bless you, your family and them.

Life long Du Page County resident

February 26, 2017

Growing up on the same block as your mother, Grandma used to tell me all sorts of stories about you. She loves you so much. My favorite story of you is when you volunteered yourself for community service in the aftermath of the Oak Lawn tornado. She told me you stayed over at a buddy's house for almost week and helped clean up debris and helped people anyway you could have. Grandma used that story to teach me at a young age how service to others is so important and how we should volunteer whenever we can. I guess that's why I'm still in the public safety/ medical field. I think of you often and will never forget your valor and dedication to the community which you served so greatly. We all love you so much.

Great Nephew

January 17, 2017

Officer Barth's story was read in Richton Park Police Department's roll call on 11-06-16 to honor him.

Sgt. James Galvan

November 6, 2016

On this the 42nd Anniversary of my Uncle Richie's death, a day that you remember like yesterday. I want to thank all the people of Downers Grove and the Police Department for their continued memory of him. They always fly black flags on their police cars this day. The Barth Pond is a great place to remember him. He loved kids. I will never forget the rows of Police Officers at his funeral and on the way to Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Our family greatly appreciates your kindness to us. God Bless You.

Julie Worch
Neice of Officer Richard J. Barth

March 18, 2016

Thank you for your service and may you never be forgotten.

Oak Brook Police Department

March 17, 2016

I attended Officer Barth's services in 1974 as a young patrolman. Every year I visit the DuPage County Police and Fire Memorial on May 15th out of respect. You are remembered and your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Sergeant Craig Grude, ret.
Bensenville PD

May 15, 2015

Thank You for your great service and total sacrifice. These the greatest act, are remembered at another park Patriots Park at Barth Pond and during National Police Week there is a departmental rememberance also at your pond.

Bill Rendall Horse Patrolman (ret.)
Ca.,State, Federal and County Parks

November 19, 2013

Rest in Peace, Officer Barth. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

May 1, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 38th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

March 18, 2012

Remembering your valiant sacrifice 37 years later, you will be missed and never forgotten.


Matt Mroch

September 15, 2011

I wasn't even born when you were alive. I've only heard great things about you. You're courage has inspired me to join the Criminal Justice field to become a police officer. Apparently I am a lot like you. It makes me proud to call you my uncle.

Karen Todd
Great Neice of Richard Barth

July 13, 2011

Just over 37 years years have passed since that tragic day. Most of your bretheren have retired and some passed away. Your killer now is free. Many of your friends fought his release in honor of your memory, but it was not to be.
On March 18th every year, they speak your name at roll call. The first week in May they lay a wreath at the pond that displays your name to all. You served this nation, you served this town, rest in peace, you've earned eternal rest. We'll do our best to keep your memory alive, and never let you down.


March 26, 2011

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 36th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

March 18, 2010

Another year has passed and you are still admired and respectfully remembered in the hearts and minds of so many. My thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones and friends on this anniversary of your EOW. You will never be forgotten.

James Sheppard
Father of Sgt. Jason L. Sheppard EOW 12/7/06

March 18, 2010

As my career's end is coming closer, I decided to check and find those who had lost their lives during the year that I was hired. While it's been a long time since your passing, I'm sure those you left behind and those whom with you served with distinction have kept you alive in their memories. Thank you for your service and for looking out for us who continue in our chosen profession. Rest in peace Officer Barth!

Sgt. Robert Mau Sr.
PD Joliet IL

December 16, 2008


Pat Van Den Berghe

April 30, 2008

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

October 18, 2007

Officer Barth, you Brother are a true hero, and will never be forgotten. Your sacrifice was not in vain and your service and dedication inspires us all. Thank you Sir. I know you are watchng over us. Rest in Peace.

Winston-Salem Police Dept.

March 18, 2007

Growing up in Downers Grove, I used to fish at Barth Pond. I learned from my father that it was named after a heroic Officer who was murdered. Today as a Police Detective I remember how beautiful the park and pond was and all of the fond memories that I have of that area. I was able to enjoy the park thanks to brave officers like Officer Barth. Thank you Officer Barth!

Detective Kipp Euler
Boulder Police Department

February 25, 2006

My Thought And Prayers Are With You And Your Family ......God Bless

Patrol Deputy T. Pena
Brazoria County Sheriff Office

December 11, 2005

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