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Hero Down: California Borough PD Chief Timothy John Sheehan Dies After On-Duty Heart Attack

California, PA – California Borough Police Department (CPD) Chief Timothy John Sheehan died in the line of duty on Feb. 11 after suffering a heart attack while clearing snow from his vehicle.

Less than 24 hours before the medical emergency struck, the 50-year-old police chief performed CPR on a citizen while responding to a call, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

“He had that leadership quality that he was going to take care of them and have their back,” retired CPD Chief Rick Encarpera said of the support Chief Sheehan showed his officers, according to The Mon Valley Independent.

He served the CPD for over 15 years, and was appointed to head up the department in 2019.

Chief Sheehan served in many roles during his years of service, including working patrol, bike patrol, detective, and school resource officer (SRO) positions, according to his obituary.

He spent over a decade serving as an SRO.

“[Chief Sheehan] was a major influence on the community’s youth and its families, where he became a trusted friend to thousands of students,” his obituary read. “Many children looked up to Chief Sheehan as a father figure first and an officer second.”

Encarpera said the town “never had a juvenile [criminality] problem because of the relationship” the department was able to establish with kids through the school, The Mon Valley Independent reported.

“He created a sense of safety and protection for our students, staff and faculty,” California High School Principal Leigh Ann Folmar told the news outlet. “His three kids went to school at California and that brought an added level to his relationship with the students.”

Chief Sheehan was also an active member of the California Volunteer Fire Department Station #23, and a lifelong member of the Brownsville Volunteer Fire Department Station #5, according to his obituary.

Chief Sheehan leaves behind his wife of 25 years, Kim, as well as his children, Timothy, Brendan, and Erin.

He is also survived by his mother, in-laws, niece, and many cousins.

Chief Sheehan’s memorial service was held on Wednesday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of California Borough Police Department (CPD) Chief Timothy John Sheehan, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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