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Burnsville's 'First Police Chief' Dies at 74

This week saw the passing of Kenneth Alan Day, Sr.— a former lawman and controversial figure in Burnsville's history.

The day after Christmas, Kenneth Alan Day, Sr. passed away, and with him perished a long-standing dispute: Who was the first police chief of Burnsville?

Day was a native of Burnsville. He was born on Feb. 1, 1938, when the city was little more than a collection of scattered homes and cornfields. Over the course of his life, Day "wore many hats" as his family puts it in his obituary. According to them, Day was "very well known in the equestrian world" as a championship horse trainer and farrier.

But he was best known for his central role in a long-standing controversy. For over 10 years, Day contended that he was appointed police chief on Nov. 20, 1962, which would make him the first in the city's history. According to a report in the Star Tribune, late Council Member Charlie Crichton found some documentation to bear this claim out, specifically some minutes from the Burnsville Town Board that show his appointment as "chief of police" with a monthly salary of $515. 

In 2011, the Dakota County Association of Township Officers officially recognized him with an award, but the City of Burnsville and Mayor Elizabeth Kautz maintain that Ed Farrell was the city's first police chief. The police department's history page dates its formation to 1964.  

Day hoped to amend the official record and get his picture put up at the Burnsville Police Department, a wish that has gone unfulfilled so far. 

He is survived by children, Daniel W., Kenneth R., Kenneth A. and Debra S. Day, also by beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other loving relatives and friends.

A funeral service for Day will be held on New Year's Eve at Highview Lutheran Church in Farmington, with visitation one hour prior to service at church. Day will be interred at Emmanuel Cemetery in Lakeville.

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