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Hero Down: Millersville Borough Police Officer J. Donald ‘JD’ Shaeffer Dies By Suicide

Millsboro, DE – Millersville Borough Police Department (MBPD) Officer J. Donald “JD” Shaeffer died by suicide on July 10.

Officer Shaeffer, who lived and worked in Pennsylvania, passed away in Delaware, according to his obituary.

The 61-year-old officer’s death was ruled a suicide, WGAL reported.

“JD was an honorable man, filled with integrity; that people don’t encounter frequently,” his obituary read. “From a young age, he knew he wanted to spend his life helping others and serving his community.”

Officer Shaeffer served active duty in the U.S. Army for three years before serving another five years with the Pennsylvania National Guard.

He then joined the Lampeter Fire Company, where he worked for more than a decade and eventually became the agency’s assistant fire chief.

Officer Shaeffer went to work for the Lancaster City Bureau of Police in 1991, following in the footsteps of his father, according to his obituary.

He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2007 and retired from the department in August of 2016.

“It was too soon learned this retirement would be short lived,” his obituary read. “Public service was his calling and his drive returned him to law enforcement as a part-time patrolman with the Millersville Borough Police Department, as well as an adjunct professor with Harrisburg Area Community College assisting in the Police Academy with EVOC driving.”

Officer Shaeffer also recently began working as an LGH Health Pavilion security officer.

“He was especially proud when he learned his daughter would follow in the family legacy by becoming a 3rd generation police officer, serving with the Northwest Lancaster County Regional Police Department,” his obituary read.

“If you knew him, you undoubtedly called him FRIEND,” the MBPD said in a Facebook post on July 12. “If you served alongside him, he called you BROTHER.”

“For Shaeffer this was no retirement job; this WAS the job,” the department said. “He served the residents of Millersville Borough each and every assigned shift with commitment and purpose.”

The MBPD said Officer Shaeffer was a beloved member of the department who “brought with him years of invaluable experience and knowledge.”

“He shared this knowledge and advice with the officers of MBPD and we are forever better officers for having known him and for following his example,” the police department said.

Lampeter Fire Company Chief Jim Meck told WGAL that Officer Shaeffer just “wanted to help people.”

“He had a heart of serving the community and he continued that his entire life,” Chief Meck said.

Officer Shaeffer leaves behind his wife of 35 years, Ingrid, and his daughter, Abigail, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his father, siblings, and his five canine companions.

“Suicide can impact even the strongest of people,” the veteran officer’s family said.” You never know what others are going through until it’s too late. Keep your family and other brothers and sisters in blue close. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, know there is help out there.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Millersville Borough Police Department Officer J. Donald “JD” Shaeffer, 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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