Las Cruces, NM – Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputy John Paul Duffy died by suicide in an unincorporated area of the county on Friday.
A motorcade procession escorted the fallen deputy’s body back to Las Cruces from an autopsy in Albuquerque on Sunday, the Las Cruces Sun News reported.
Deputy Duffy, 47, served the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department (DACSD) for over 20 years in various capacities, his lifelong friend, DACSD Detective Bo Nevarez, told the Lac Cruces Sun News.
He started off as a volunteer reserve deputy and worked at the department’s detention center prior to being hired as a full-time deputy, Det. Nevarez said.
Deputy Duffy served in a multitude of positions within the department during his two-decade career, including as a firing range instructor, a narcotics investigator, a K9 officer, and in patrol.
But Det. Nevarez knew Deputy Duffy long before their law enforcement careers began. Their friendship started when they were both working at security guards at the Mesilla Valley Mall.
Even then, Deputy Duffy often spoke of his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer, Det. Nevarez recalled.
Deputy Duffy’s outgoing personality was one of the traits Det. Nevarez enjoyed most about him.
"His smile — it was contagious," he said of his friend. "It lit up a room. He left you smiling. He left you feeling good."
"I don't think the department is ever going to be the same," Det. Nevarez told the Las Cruces Sun News.
Deputy Duffy’s family praised his “impressive career” as a law enforcement officer, and said they “could not be more proud of the work he did and how well he did it,” according to his obituary.
“There wasn't anything John wouldn't do for someone if they were in need no matter what it was,” his obituary read. “He genuinely cared about everyone and always made it a point to check in on people.”
He also had a passion for animals, and developed close bonds with them.
“He had a big heart and it showed daily,” his obituary continued. “His laughter was contagious and so was his smile.”
Deputy Duffy leaves behind his mother, Sherry, his daughter, Jessica, and his granddaughter, Eva.
He is also survived by his aunt, uncle, cousins, and an “incredibly large amount of people who loved him and called him family,” his obituary read.
Deputy Duffy will be laid to rest on Thursday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputy John Paul Duffy, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.