Deming, NM – New Mexico State Police Sergeant Thomas Vitale died on Saturday, after he suffered an unexpected medical incident in the line of duty.
Sgt. Vitale, an 18-year veteran of the force, was assigned to District 12 in Deming, the New Mexico State Police said in a statement.
He was also a U.S. Army veteran.
“Sergeant Vitale was a dedicated and hard-working member of the New Mexico State Police family, and he will be sorely missed,” the agency noted.
“This tragic incident leaves us mourning the life of an extraordinary man,” State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said in a statement. “While we mourn the passing of Sgt. Vitale, we are blessed to have known him.”
Chief Kassetas said that the married father of three “was an example of what every State Police officer strives to be.”
“He was dedicated and passionate about serving his state and community and did so in a distinguished and honorable manner,” the chief said. “We will miss Sgt. Vitale greatly, and he will never be forgotten.”
Many agencies extended their condolences in the wake of Sgt. Vitale’s death.
“Our blue family supports yours,” the Colorado State Police said in a tweet.
“The # FBI joins with our brothers and sisters @NMStatePolice in mourning the loss of Sergeant Thomas Vitale,” the federal agency wrote on Twitter.
Las Cruces City Manager Stuart Ed offered prayers for the fallen officer and his family in a Facebook post.
“Thank you for your service both [as] a State Police officer and military veteran,” Ed wrote.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New Mexico State Police Sergeant Thomas Vitale, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.