Butch Barfield, N. Charleston emergency preparedness director, dies after cancer battle

Butch Barfield, N. Charleston emergency preparedness director, dies after cancer battle
William "Butch" Barfield, North Charleston's emergency preparedness coordinator, has died. Barfield also spend three decades in the North Charleston Police Department, retiring as a deputy chief in 2012. (Source: Live 5/File)

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, died Thursday at home with his family, mayor’s spokesman Ryan Johnson said.

Barfield 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.

Barfield’s remains will lie in state in the lobby of the North Charleston City Hall on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Johnson said.

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North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey released this statement on Barfield:

Today, we lost long-time public servant and North Charlestonian Butch Barfield. A police officer who served his community with dignity. Our Emergency Preparedness Coordinator who guided us through hurricanes, snow storms, and this pandemic. A recreation volunteer coach and referee who mentored countless youth in our community. A husband and father who taught us how to love all. Rest easy, Butch. Thank you for the positive impact you made on the City of North Charleston.

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.

A funeral service is being held Monday at Cathedral of Praise at 2709 Ashley Phosphate Road at 2 p.m., North Charleston Mayor’s Office spokesman Ryan Johnson said.

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