William K. Bambach Jr., a retired Amherst police officer who later became director of security for the Buffalo Bills, died Wednesday in his East Amherst home, after a lengthy illness, while under Hospice care. He was 72.
Known as "Sarge," Mr. Bambach was born in Buffalo and was a graduate of McKinley High School. An Army veteran, he served stateside during the Korean War as a military police officer.
After joining the Amherst Police Department in 1961, Mr. Bambach was appointed detective in 1964 and detective sergeant six years later. He was in charge of the Narcotics, Vice and Gambling Squad.
In 1973, the squad was responsible for what was then the largest seizure of heroin and cocaine in the state outside of New York City. The unit also assisted in dismantling several large-scale drug-trafficking organizations.
Mr. Bambach was appointed in 1990 to a task force investigating unsolved homicides in Erie County.
In 1986, he became part-time director of security for the Buffalo Bills, overseeing security on game days. After retiring from the Amherst Police Department in 1993, he became full-time director of security for the Bills, with additional responsibilities involving the security needs of the team.
Mr. Bambach worked with law enforcement agencies across the country in his role with the Bills. He coordinated security for the team during its four Super Bowl appearances as well as American Bowl appearances overseas.
He received many awards during his career, including Police Officer of the Year in Amherst in 1962 and 1972 and the Amherst Police Department Merit Award in 1982. In 1990, he was named Outstanding Police Officer of the Year by George F. Lamm Post 622, American Legion.
Survivors include his wife, the former Marlene Geiselhart; a daughter, Dr. Barbara Skomra of Clarence; a son, Kenneth of Amherst; and three grandchildren.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Amigone Funeral Home, 8440 Main St., Clarence. Burial will be in Williamsville Cemetery.