Remembering Virginia State Police Trooper Chad Dermyer

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Trooper Chad Dermyer was known for his passion for law enforcement. Former colleagues say he was the ultimate professional and did it with a smile on his face.

“I wish we’d have a hundred like him,” said Newport News Assistant Police Chief Joe More. “Everyday he was smiling, yet he was a very hardworking officer.”

Dermyer spent time in the Marines before joining the Newport News Police Department in 2003; he quickly made his mark.

“We were just devastated,” More added. “He has a lot of friends here. It is as close as you can come to losing an on-duty member of our department.”

Dermyer’s first police job took him to the North section of city, where was part of a unit focused on interacting with the community.

“He was exceptional in every single way,” said former partner Cyndi Grace. “He always strived to do his best.”

For four years, Dermyer worked side-by-side with his law enforcement partner Grace. The two were inseparable. The partners were together so often they became known as “Gracemyer”.

“We loved the name,” Grace added. “It was amazing that it ever stuck. It was the epididymis of us, because we might be two people, but were absolutely just one unit. There was never one without the other.”

Grace says no matter who Dermyer came in contact with on the streets, they were treated with the same respect.

“He made you a better person,” Grace said. “He made me a better person. He made me a better police officer.”

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Dermyer left Newport News in 2007 to held back home to Michigan. He joined Jackson Police, his local department, where he served three years. He left in 2011 when he was laid off.

“He was one of those type of employees that you can depend on to get the job done,” added Jackson Police Chief Matthew Heins. “You wouldn’t have to worry about getting complaints about his conduct. When he went to Virginia State Police, I reached out to my contact and told him he is coming to work with you guys and he is an up and coming star.”

“I was so sad that he didn’t try to come back our department, but I said the Virginia State Police really got a gem when they hired Chad Dermyer,” More said.

Dermyer was a trooper until the day he died. No one yet knows why he was taken, but they know what he left behind.

“I felt like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I just, I just looked and couldn’t believe it.” — Dermyer’s former teacher Mike Dickens

“We are mourning his loss,” More added. “He is truly a member of our family. He will always be remembered.”

Others in his hometown of Jackson, Michigan are also mourning his loss.

“I felt like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I just, I just looked and couldn’t believe it,” said long time Columbia Schools teacher and soccer coach Mike Dickens when he found out Dermyer died in the line of duty.

Dickens was not the only person who was taken back by Dermyer’s sudden passing.

“Um, shock! You know, you don’t…you hear all these things on the news and everything but when it touches home, it really…you look at things at differently,” said Columbia Schools Teacher Kevin Miller.

The 37-year-old was an active student at Columbia. He took part in activities ranging from the National Honor Society, drama club, and soccer. He graduated from Columbia Central High School in 1996. Twenty years later, his mark is still felt.

Superintendent Dr. Pam Campbell said, “really, a very intelligent young man. And very gregarious. Reached out to other kids in the school district and was well liked by his classmates and his teachers.”

“The thing that stands out in my mind is I just remember his smile. He had this giant smile. He always had a really short hair cut. He would find you in a crowd and he would track you down just to say ‘hi’,” said Dickens.

Miller said, “he was just…like I said before, he was just that one person you looked forward to seeing every day.”

Superintendent Dr. Pam Campbell plans on honoring the life of Trooper Dermyer with a special plaque out of the school. Although Dermyer uprooted his life and moved hundreds of miles away from Michigan, it is clear many will miss him back home.

Virginia Police are still conducting an investigation. Funeral arrangements are still in progress.

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