West Point, VA – West Point Master Police Officer Jason Harlow died unexpectedly at his home on March 12, according to his department.
The exact cause of the 47-year-old veteran officer’s death has not been released, WTVR reported.
“Master Police Officer Harlow…was committed to serving the citizens of West Point for almost 20 years with dignity and pride and never met a stranger,” the West Point Police Department (WPPD) said in a Facebook post.
He was known as “the face of the department,” and had been serving his agency since its inception, West Point Police Chief Tim Sawyer told WTVR.
"When the police department formed, [he was] one of the first officers here and the last of the original police officers,” Chief Sawyer said. “Everybody knew Jason.”
Former West Point Police Sergeant Gary Dillon recalled the days when Officer Harlow was a fresh-faced rookie, The Virginia Gazette reported.
“Early on, I knew there was something really special about this guy,” Sgt. Dillon said. “His laugh, his voice…Jason was a community police officer. He had an innate ability to connect with people."
He was dedicated to his community, and viewed everyone in it as his responsibility, the former sergeant added.
“He just made everyone feel like they were his friend,” West Point resident Maria Robins told The Virginia Gazette. “I hope he knew how much everyone appreciated him for just being who he was.”
Officer Harlow was a beloved member of the tight-knit, 10-man agency, and he knew his community well.
“Jason patrolled the same six square miles of this town for 20 years, pretty much with the same routine,” Chief Sawyer told The Virginia Gazette. “There’s probably not a square inch of this town, not a resident or a business he hasn’t [visited].”
The chief said that the department and community is forever changed by the loss of Officer Harlow.
“Going forward we'll get better, but it'll never be the same," he told WTVR.
Over 500 people gathered on March 17 to honor the veteran officer with a celebration of life, The Virginia Gazette reported.
Officer Harlow leaves behind his wife of 24 years, Susan, as well as their son, Brendan, his parents, Linda and Thomas, and his brother, Kenneth.
“His love for me and Brendan will continue to give me strength, as will the love all of you have for Jason and our family,” Susan told the packed auditorium during his funeral service.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of West Point Master Police Officer Jason Harlow, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.