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Longest-serving Columbus police officer retires after 56 years

Lt. Karl Barth, who joined the Columbus Division of Police in 1961, retired on Monday. It was the 56th anniversary of his first day on the job. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- One of Columbus' finest has called it a day after more than five decades of protecting and serving the community.

Lt. Karl Barth, who joined the Columbus Division of Police in 1961, retired on Monday. It was the 56th anniversary of his first day on the job.

"Physically, I'm just not able to do the job any more. So, I'm passing it onto the young people."

The 77-year-old first started in the Motorcycle Squad after a brief time as a surgeon's assistant at Mt. Carmel West Hospital following his service in the Navy. He eventually moved onto the Special Events Bureau, where he'd served since 1979.

"I just enjoyed it, not only the people in the police department, but the citizens that worked with me," Barth said.

In his role, he worked with the Secret Service, which allowed him to meet every president since John F. Kennedy. He also said he planned dignitary escorts for other politicians and facilitated things during filming 15 different motion pictures shot in Columbus.

Barth was also part of several city staples like the inaugural Columbus Marathon, Red, White & Boom, Pelotonia, and Naked Bike Ride, he added jokingly.

Initially, he expected to retire after 25 years, but when the time came, he said he decided to just keep going.

In his retirement, he intends to travel more, possibly Cancun, Niagara Falls, and/or a cruise.

Along with wishing his fellow officers good luck, he offered one piece of advice to the young officers on the force.

"Treat the people like you'd like to be treated."


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