Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel said his department has endured a rough few weeks.
“We’ve sure had our share of tragedy here in Mingo County,” Rockel said. “It’s like a dark cloud is over us.”
Rockel is bewildered at the most recent tragedy. Officer Jefferson Taylor III, 27, was found dead Monday in his parents’ home in Pike County, Ky.
Taylor was on suspension from the Williamson Police Department for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident in Pike County recently. Rockel said it’s difficult to say what kind of demons Taylor was battling, but that his recent incident was the only blemish on an otherwise clean record.
Taylor’s death is under investigation by Kentucky State Police. Rockel said he expects an autopsy to offer more clues into what happened.
“I guess his sister came home to the residence where he was staying, their parents’ home,” Rockel said. “He was unresponsive. She called 911 and tried to do CPR.”
Taylor’s death was the second high-profile loss to the county’s law enforcement community. Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot dead in his cruiser in Williamson last month, a case in which Rockel was also directly involved.
“Instead of promoting good things, it just seems like bad things keep happening here,” he said.
Rockel said his department is mourning Taylor’s death and trying to make sense of the officer’s final two weeks.
“Jeff was a real good police officer,” Rockel said. “I was real proud of him. He did good reports, he had a good rapport with the public. He was a model officer — he really was.”