River Rouge, MI – River Rouge Police Chief Deborah Hayes-Price died unexpectedly while on vacation in Atlanta on May 29.
Chief Hayes-Price, 66, was on vacation with her family when she passed away from natural causes, possibly stemming from a medical issue, WJBK reported.
“Chief Price dedicated her career to the residents of our community and to public service,” the River Rouge Police Department said in a Facebook post on May 30. “She cared deeply about our city, our residents and the police department.”
Dozens of community members gathered to pay their respects when Chief Hayes-Price’s body was flown back to River Rouge on June 2, WJBK reported.
"It's a big loss to the department, to the family, to the whole Downriver community,” one resident told WDIV. “She was a pillar.”
Many remembered her as a persuasive leader, who was passionate about serving her community.
Chief Hayes-Price joined the department in 1990, and spent over two decades rising through the ranks.
Former River Rouge Mayor Daniel Cooney fondly recalled the day he hired her as an officer.
“Back when I was mayor I was glad to hire her and glad to be on council,” Cooney told WDIV. “We are all heartbroken.”
She was appointed to the position of police chief three years ago.
“It’s uplifting to me that I could serve in this capacity,” Chief Hayes-Price told WDIV in 2015.
“This is a tragic loss for all of us, but most particularly for her family and our thoughts and prayers go out to them,” the River Rouge Police Department said in the post. “The chief will be missed, but she will always be remembered.”
“She made the City of River Rouge a better place,” the department concluded.
Chief Hayes-Price will be laid to rest on Saturday, WJBK reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of River Rouge Police Chief Deborah Hayes-Price, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.