William Barnett

Capitol Police Officer

William Barnett, 74, an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police for 20 years, died April 20 at Laurel Regional Hospital. He had congestive heart failure and kidney disease. He had lived in Upper Marlboro.

Mr. Barnett was born in Bloomfield, N.J. After joining the Army in 1950, he was wounded in battle during the Korean conflict in 1951 and was discharged in 1953. He joined the Air Force a year later and served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1968. His final active-duty assignment was at Bolling Air Force Base, where he entered law enforcement as an Air Force Police officer. He retired at the rank of staff sergeant in 1972.

Mr. Barnett spent a year with Georgetown University police before joining the Capitol Police in 1973. He was a 15-year member of the department's ceremonial unit and stood guard while the unknown soldier from the Vietnam War lay in state in the Capitol rotunda.

From 1995 to 2003, Mr. Barnett was a bailiff at Prince George's County Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro.

Mr. Barnett was a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and served as commander and chaplain of VFW Post 482 in Forestville. He was a member of the VFW's national honor guard and participated in ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. For many years, he was a member and an usher at Chapel One, a church at Andrews Air Force Base.

His marriage to Leanna Durham ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Helen Travis Barnett, of Upper Marlboro; a daughter from his first marriage, Deborah Alexander of Washington; a daughter from his second marriage, Delicia Barnett of Clinton; and a grandson.