Mark Taylor
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Gardner City Council paid tribute to the late police Chief Kenny Francis during a brief and somber meeting on Sept. 17.
Francis passed away last week surrounded by loved ones.
About 20 Gardner police officers stood behind the dais as Mayor Dave Drovetta read a resolution honoring and recognizing Francis’s accomplishments.
The officers wore black ribbons on their badges.
A portrait of Francis was placed on a black-draped easel, adjacent to two name plates (chief of public safety) and (police chief) that Francis had used during council meetings.
Francis, who was the head of law enforcement in Gardner since 1987, was well respected by law enforcement peers ranging from municipal police departments to the FBI.
He served on several law enforcement boards and committees over the course of his career.
Francis was past president of the Johnson County Police Chiefs, past president of the FBI National Academy Associates, past president of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association and past president of the Metropolitan Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s Associations.
Francis received the prestigious Clarence M. Kelly Award in 2002. That award is presented to criminal justice executives in the Kansas City metro area who demonstrate a proactive  approach and dedication to improving the criminal justice system.
Visitation will be held  from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20 at the College Church of the Nazarene, 2020 E. Sheridan, Olathe.
Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m on Friday, Sept. 21 at the College Church of the Nazarene.
Interment will follow at Gardner Cemetery.
Capt. Jim Moore said, “It’s going to be an extremely difficult week for everybody, but with the support we have here, we’re going to get through it.”
The council’s resolution states that “as a further mark of respect, the row of flags on Main Street will be flown for 25 days, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 to honor the Chief’s 25 years of service to the city of Gardner and hereafter the 14th day of September shall be honored as Kenneth A. Francis Memorial Day in the city of Gardner.”
Drovetta said original copies of the resolution will be presented to Francis’s wife and children.