Robert E. Rinehart, who served as Independence’s chief of police for 12 years, died Tuesday evening. He was 84 years old.

Robert E. Rinehart, who served as Independence’s chief of police for 12 years, died Tuesday evening. He was 84 years old.
Rinehart died at 4:45 p.m. at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence.
It’s unknown exactly what caused his death, but it could have stemmed from heart or kidney complications, DeLois Rinehart, his wife, told The Examiner late Tuesday evening.
“He really liked it,” DeLois said of his time as an officer. “He enjoyed the people he worked with.”
Rinehart served at the department for 36 years. DeLois said he was the longest serving police chief in the department’s history. He was the first police officer to hold the rank of major, according to a 1992 article in The Examiner.
Rinehart was one of many at the department who helped with the funeral of President Harry S. Truman in December 1972, DeLois said.
Rinehart, a native of Independence, served in the Navy in World War II. He was stationed in Saipan.
Rinehart was removed as police chief in 1992. Nine months later, he filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming he was fired because of his age. He was 67 at the time and the lawsuit claimed age discrimination and denial of due process.
A federal judge ruled his lawsuit lacked enough evidence to go to trial and threw out the claim.
“It was very hard because he really enjoyed his job,” DeLois said. “He hated to leave it.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.