KCUR News
9:02 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Legendary Detective Leaves Post

KANSAS CITY, MO. – An iconic Kansas City Police detective has cleared out the spartan office where he spent 21 years solving homicides. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports on the retirement of Sergeant David Bernard.

He is best remembered lately for finding the killers of the little girl who became known as Precious Doe, her decapitated body discarded in a rubbish strewn lot. Dave Bernard and his team on the Murder Squad never gave up.

Bernard worked what many other detectives in many other towns called a kind of anti-crime magic from a tiny office that came from another era. He remembers when investigators used picnic tables for desks because the police budget was so austere.

There were scores of tough cases over time. Most detectives transfer out of homicide after a few years for their own well-being. Not Bernard. He loved many parts of the job.

In an 2008 interview with KCUR news, Bernard talked about the hardest part, death notification-- " I don't care how many times you do it, you never get used to it. You always dread bringing such horrible news to a family. There's no easy way to do it." David Bernard doesn't think he was born to investigative work. He says he began college as a theater major, then switched to psychology after teachers suggested acting was not his calling.

The detective worked through college at the National Archives regional repository and thrilled at being able to handle so many original documents that figured into American history. He also got a part time job as a civilian with the police department. And began his career.

Bernard always said the greatest regret was missing time with family, so many late night calls for yet another violent death to solve.