Chaffee Police Chief dies
By: CJ Cassidy
By: CJ Cassidy
Chaffee, MO - Folks in Chaffee mourn the sudden loss of a man they say had a huge impact on their community.
Police Chief Jeffrey Womack died after a heart attack Monday morning.
He was 53-years old.
Most people in town were still shocked by the news.
Chiefs of police generally have a reputation for being tough, but folks in Chaffee say Jeff Womack didn't rule with an iron fist, he ruled with his heart.
Outside the Chaffee Police Department, the flags fly at half staff.
Inside, the door to Chief Jeff Womack's office is closed, and his best friend and pet pooch Wesley, mournfully roams the hallways.
The mood is no better among the officers on duty.
"This will be a tremendous loss," Officer Jim Backfisch says.
He was one of Womack's first hires two years ago.
"His whole philosophy on everything was not to have everyone go to jail, but just solve the problem," Backfisch adds.
Womack wasn't from Chaffee, so he spent his coffee breaks at the No Name Cafe* making sure everyone knew his name.
"He told me sitting right there the difference between a small town chief and a larger town is that you do not enforce the law, you keep the peace," one of his friends George Pendergrass says.
"I think it'll be hard to find someone like him to fill the position," Ron Senciboy, another friend adds.
City leaders agree.
They say a tight budget always makes finding someone with Womack's experience difficult.
In the meantime, officers say they'll continue to follow the rules Jeff Womack swore by.
"We'll always keep up his image and profile and what the police department should be like in Chaffee," Backfisch says.
Jeff Womack worked for the Jackson Police Department, and then spent 24 years with the Missouri Highway Patrol before he joined the Chaffee Police.
Visitation wil be at Watkins and Son Funeral Home in Parma Tuesday.