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Hero Down: San Jose Police Officer DeJon Packer Dies Unexpectedly

Milpitas, CA – San Jose Police Department (SJPD) Officer DeJon Packer died unexpectedly while off-duty on March 13, according police.

Law enforcement sources and the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office confirmed the 24-year-old officer was found dead inside his Milpitas home on Daniel Court on Sunday afternoon, The Mercury News reported.

Officer Packer’s exact cause of death has not been released.

The Milpitas Police Department and the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office is handling the ongoing investigation into Officer Packer’s death, KPIX reported.

“Our police family is devastated by the sudden loss of Officer DeJon Packer who passed away last night,” the SJPD tweeted on Monday. “DeJon graduated the police academy just one year ago. He was beloved by the San Jose community and was a celebrated former [San Jose State University] SJSU football player.”

SJSU Head Coach Brent Brennan said Officer Packer’s death has left everyone “devastated,” The Mercury News reported.

“Everyone feels like this was a bright young life that was just gone way too soon,” Brennan said of the former running back.

“The first thing you saw every time you came in contact with Pack was his big smile… Just, big smile on his face, really motivated,” the football coach said. “He was an incredibly hard worker and that showed up in how he put in time in the weight room, the conditioning and all those parts, but his biggest contribution was just his general positive energy…You always felt better when you bumped into Pack.”

Officer Packer joined the SJPD in February of 2021 after graduating from the law enforcement academy, The Mercury News reported.

Prior to his graduation from the academy, he told The Mercury News he decided to become a law enforcement officer after then-SJPD Chief Eddie Garcia and a team of other officers came to speak with his college football team about their experiences with the police and perceptions about law enforcement officers.

“It gave me a different outlook,” Officer Packer told the paper. “For me, it’s about wanting to be able to make a difference, and show kids in low-income areas, kids who look like me, they can do this job.”

The young officer said he knew the work would not be easy.

“Some are going to see the badge and not see me for who I am,” Officer Packer said during his interview with The Mercury News. “I’m looking forward to the impact I’d be able to have on people just by doing good police service for them and being in my community.”

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he was heartbroken for Officer Packer’s friends and family members in the wake of his unexpected death.

“He passed away yesterday, at the too-young age of 24,” Liccardo said in a Facebook post. “We remember him for his courageous commitment to our city.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of San Jose Police Department Officer DeJon Packer, 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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