ST. LOUIS (KTVI)–Law enforcement agencies around the Jefferson County region are remembering one of their own who died Thursday morning. Jefferson College Police Chief Don Riffe passed away, surrounded by loved ones, his family said. The school said he had been hospitalized for an extended period of time.

Riffe, who had been police chief at the school since July 2018, was also the primary firearms instructor at the Jefferson College Law Enforcement Academy and was active with JeffCo Shop-With-a-Cop.

“Chief Riffe had been with our organization from the start and he was instrumental in our growth. He gave so much to us with his volunteer work and financial contributions, but he never once asked for credit or anything in return. Every one of us have a great deal of love and respect for Chief Riffe, and we will all have his family in our thoughts and prayers,” Shop-With-A-Cop said in a Facebook tribute.

“On the range, Don blended technical instruction with life lessons, and helped mold an entire generation of new police officers who are collectively feeling this loss. Godspeed, Chief,” the Hillsboro Police Department said in another social media tribute.

“Any time we lose a member of the College family unexpectedly, our entire campus grieves. Don was a true professional in every sense of the word and his absence within the Jefferson College Police Department and Law Enforcement Academy will be felt by many. Our hearts go out to his family as we collectively mourn his passing,” Roger Barrentine, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Jefferson College said in an email.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced. Riffe was 59.