Former SPD Chief Bolar dies after yearlong battle with cancer

By Pat Pratt

June 9, 2014

Devoting almost an entire lifetime to law enforcement, former Sedalia Police Chief, Kirkwood Police Officer and Coast Guard veteran Douglas Bolar died at his home in Millstadt, Ill., Saturday after a more than a yearlong battle with prostate cancer.

“He was wonderful and will be greatly missed, but he is home now,” said Jan Bolar, wife of the former chief. “Myself, and the family could not be happier for him. He could not have been more loved. He was just everything, the whole package.”

Bolar began his tour of duty with the Sedalia Police Department on Oct. 12, 1976 as a patrol officer and advanced through the ranks for 16 years. John Rice, personnel director for the City of Sedalia and fellow patrol officer at the time, said the department was much different back in 1976.

“I worked with Doug when he was a patrolman, then a corporal, then both of us were promoted to the rank of commander at the same time. Then later on he became Chief of Sedalia,” Rice said. “We had some good times back then. It was a little rocky in the department — we were still working on professionalism and trying to make strides into the future.”

Rice said Bolar was a progressive chief who enacted several modern policing techniques during his tenure in Sedalia and always kept a “laid-back” attitude.

“He was laid-back and he believed in the future of policing,” Rice said. “We tried several new innovative projects during his tenure as chief. Some of the first alcohol checkpoints stops were conducted under him. So, we were always striving to meet the demands of modern policing and that was the philosophy of the department and it’s pretty much continued to this day.”

He retired in October 1992 and entered the private sector as Director of Security at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He worked at that position until a fateful and infamous day in U.S. history, Sept. 11, 2001, led him back to the thin blue line as a patrol officer for the Kirkwood Police Department. He served there until his illness prevented him from working any longer.

“He had been at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, but when 9/11 came he wanted to protect and serve again so he decided he was going back into police work and that’s what he did,” Jan said. “The reason he went back is because he felt it was his duty to do that.”

When not at work, Bolar loved golf, college sports and spending time with his grandchildren.

“He loved his family more than anything. To his grandkids, he would be their grandpa or their ‘Douggie’ is what they called him. He was the first choice, they went to him for hugs and kisses,” Jan said. “He loved to golf and never missed a chance to play.”

Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at Strauss-Leesman Funeral Home in Millstadt, Ill.

Memorial service will be at noon Wednesday at Strauss-Leesman Funeral Home in Millstadt, Ill., with the Rev. Edward R. Weston officiating. The family’s preference is for memorials to be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois or the Humane Society.