Former Springfield Police Chief Lynn Rowe
Former Springfield Police Chief Lynn Rowe died Nov. 15, 2023 at age 79. (Photo provided by Springfield Police Department)

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Former Springfield Police Chief Lynn Rowe died on Nov. 15, 2023. He was 79.

According to a press release from the police department, Rowe was sworn in as chief of police on Sept. 1, 1993, and served the Springfield community until his retirement on Jan. 15, 2010.

Rowe came to Springfield after serving as the chief of police in Cape Coral, Florida, and Northglen, Colorado. He began his more than 46-year law enforcement career with the Adams County Colorado Sheriff’s Department.

“Chief Rowe’s leadership of the Springfield Police Department created a legacy of ethical, professional excellence that continues to this day. I was honored to follow him and build on the foundation he established as the longest serving police chief in the 160-year history of the department,” Springfield Chief of Police Paul Williams said in the release.

The release described Rowe as an “innovative leader who was dedicated to professionalism.”

He pursued and maintained law enforcement accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) for SPD throughout his tenure. He established the Citizens Police Academy and supported the creation of the Police Civilian Review Board as well as established a police service dog program.

Rowe oversaw an expansion of policing services in Springfield through the remodeling of police headquarters and the building of the South District Station, along with the merger of the city and county jails in 2004, the release said. Rowe was instrumental in the passage of the police-fire pension tax in 2009.

He served as president of the Missouri Police Chief’s Association in 2003 and was named Missouri Police Chief of the Year in 2006. As a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Chief Rowe served on the training committee, and the public image and ethics committee.

“Chief Rowe is remembered as a community advocate, having served on the board of Community Partnership of the Ozarks throughout his tenure as well as after retirement on the City Utilities Board of Directors from 2017-2022,” the release said. “Finally, he helped establish the Greene County 100 Club, a not-for-profit organization that provides financial support to the surviving spouse and children of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the county.”

Rowe is survived by his wife, three children, and five grandchildren. A visitation will be held from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, at Greenlawn East Funeral Home, 3540 E. Seminole.

In lieu of flowers or for memorial contributions, Rowe’s family suggests donations be made to the Greene County 100 Club.

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers public safety, the courts, homelessness, domestic violence and other social issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald