KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its veteran officers. Jeff Damewood died Thursday night at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

Damewood had been receiving blood transfusions as part of his cancer treatment. The department held a blood drive in May as a of show support.

“Our entire department is devastated by the loss of Officer Damewood,” Chief of Police Eve Thomas said. “Jeff was a dedicated and passionate police officer but, more importantly, he was a special father, husband and friend, and an incredible human being. Our hearts are broken and we will miss Jeff dearly.” 

“Over the past year, we watched and supported Jeff as he went through the most challenging battle of his life. As only Jeff could, he fought valiantly and courageously. And despite the trials and tribulations Jeff faced, he continued to do what he loved: serving the community as a KPD officer. He truly loved this department and this community, and the impact of his loss is immeasurable.” 

The Knoxville native joined KPD in January 1997. Damewood served in a number of roles for the department including as a member of the K-9 unit, as field training officer preparing recent graduates for work in the field, and as an investigator with the Family Crimes and Property Crimes units.

He was also recognized as the Officer of the Month three times: January 2010 for his investigation that resulted in the arrest of a robbery suspect, December 2017 for the arrest of a burglary suspect, and July 2000 for identifying a hit-and-run suspect involving a child riding a bicycle on Virginia Avenue.

“Damewood was commended for his exemplary actions on multiple occasions, receiving the Officer of the Month recognition three times,” Knoxville Police said in a statement. “Throughout his career, Damewood was commended by his supervisors as a hard-working, passionate officer who was dependable, professional and knowledgeable.”

Officers will wear mourning bands over their badges for the next five days in his honor. Funeral arrangements have yet not been finalized.