Saint Louis University

Kenneth Hornak, Assistant Director of Field Operations in the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, died April 19, 2012. He was 54.

Capt. Hornak joined the University in June 2010, following a distinguished 31-year career in professional law enforcement.

Roland Corvington, assistant vice president for public safety and emergency preparedness, said Capt. Hornak had a major impact on the department during his brief tenure at SLU.

“Ken raised the level of the professionalism of our uniformed officers,” Corvington said. “I have no doubt that our campus is safer and more secure thanks to his tireless efforts.”

Corvington added that Capt. Hornak’s ability to connect with people -- from his own staff to the individuals they protect and serve -- was one of his greatest attributes.

“Ken was an extremely personable individual. He always brightened a room when he walked in,” Corvington added. “He will be greatly missed by all of us.”

After graduating from the St. Louis Police Academy in 1979, Capt. Hornak was assigned to the city’s Ninth District, an area that includes Saint Louis University. He would later serve on the district’s detective and homicide units.

In 1998, Capt. Hornak was promoted to the rank of sergeant and was assigned to the Fifth District. In 2001, he was named commander of the police department’s prestigious canine unit. He retired in 2010.

Upon his retirement, St. Louis Alderman Stephen Gregali sponsored a resolution to honor Capt. Hornak’s service to the community. In part, it read: “For many years, Sgt. Hornak consistently performed his duties, protecting the citizens of St. Louis with unwavering dedication to provide a safe environment and was stalwart in working to eliminate the criminal element from the neighborhoods within the city.”

Capt. Hornak received numerous awards while serving on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, including four Chief’s Letters of Commendation and two Meritorious Service Citations. In 1997, St. Louis Magazine described him as one of the “Toughest Cops” on the streets of St. Louis.

In addition to a career in law enforcement, Capt. Hornak also ran a catering company. He and his family provided food service for many police events over the years — affectionately earning Capt. Hornak the nickname “The Catering Cop” among his fellow officers and colleagues.

Capt. Hornak is survived by his wife, Constance E. Hornak; their four children, Anthony, Emily, Thomas and Samuel; and three grandchildren, Lillian, Caden and Dylan. He also is survived his siblings Milan Hornak, Darleen McBride and Arleen Hornak, as well as many other family members and friends.

Visitation will be held from 2-9 p.m. Monday, April 23, at Kutis City Chapel, 2906 Gravois Rd.

A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 24, in St. Francis Xavier College Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to BackStoppers or the Humane Society of Missouri.