John Patrick McFadden, former Lexington police chief, dies at age 78

jkegley@herald-leader.comOctober 12, 2012 

In his tenure as Lexington's police chief from 1980 to 1990, John Patrick McFadden helped establish the police academy and worked to improve pay for recruits.

John Patrick McFadden, Lexington's chief of police from 1980 to 1990, died Thursday after a period of declining health, his family said.

Mr. McFadden, 78, was a graduate of Lexington Catholic High School and Eastern Kentucky University. He joined the Lexington police department in April 1957 as a patrol officer and progressed through the ranks until his appointment as chief. He was promoted to sergeant in 1966, lieutenant in 1968 and captain in 1974.

Several of the Lexington police department's current divisions and policies began during Mr. McFadden's tenure.

Under his command, Lexington created a mounted patrol unit, which started when an officer asked the chief whether he could ride a horse in the city's Fourth of July parade in 1982.

Mr. McFadden also helped establish the Lexington police academy and was instrumental in getting City Hall to raise pay and equipment allowances for police and fire recruits.

In a Herald-Leader article in 1989 announcing Mr. McFadden's retirement, former Mayor Jim Amato credited the chief's "stabilizing and calming influence" for putting an end to period of low morale among police officers in the late 1970s.

McFadden received several awards, including the National Defense Ribbon, Kentucky Medal of Merit, Kentucky Distinguished Services award and the Kentucky Meritorious Award.

In his retirement years, McFadden remained an avid outdoorsman and University of Kentucky basketball fan, his family said Friday.

His love for his family and friends extended to many police retirees and current members of the police force, said his son, John McFadden II. "He loved the time he spent with the Lexington police force," he said.

In addition to his son, Mr. McFadden is survived by his wife, Norma Duncan McFadden; his daughter, Mary; a grandson; and five siblings.

Visitation will be at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on Harrodsburg Road from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, with a Fraternal Order of Police service at 7 p.m.

Another visitation will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday at St. Paul Catholic Church, 501 West Short Street, followed by funeral services there at 11 a.m.

Mr. McFadden will be buried at Calvary Cemetery.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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