North Charleston's Butch Barfield dies after cancer battle


Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

By Patrick Phillips | October 15, 2020 at 1:06 PM EDT - Updated October 15 at 1:16 PM

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The man who led North Charleston’s Emergency Management Department as well as helping lead its police force has died.

William “Butch” Barfield, a lifelong North Charleston resident, served as the city’s emergency preparedness coordinator, helping build and maintain a comprehensive Emergency Management Program for the city and strengthening relationships with city, state and federal partners to help the city be able to respond to any disaster.

Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey released a statement on Barfield’s passing Thursday:

Butch Barfield was an amazing person, a friend and a public servant. I grew up watching and learning from him and got to see just how much he cared about this community. His career started as a firefighter, and then a police officer and he rose through the ranks at the City of North Charleston. He was always there when you needed him whether it was an emergency or help at the ballfields as a volunteer coach. He had been battling cancer for a while now and yet, he was there when this pandemic started, ready to serve. I am going to miss him, his smile and his ability to comfort anyone in a bad situation. I am a better man, husband, father and leader for knowing Butch.

During a 2014 interview, Barfield compared his role as emergency preparedness coordinator to being the conductor of an orchestra.

“As long as the music is coming off the sheet and everybody’s reading off the same sheet and we’re working together, it’s a beautiful piece,” he said.

Barfield spent three decades on the North Charleston Police Department, eventually rising to the rank of deputy police chief. He retired from the police department in December 2012.

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