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Remembering the life of Chief Wade Branson

GOSHEN, Ind. -- The Goshen community is grieving after the death of Wade Branson, the Goshen Chief of Police.

The Goshen Police Department posted the sad news on Facebook this morning, calling the late Chief a brother and a friend.

A police officer who would’ve celebrated his 35th year in the force next month, lost his battle to cancer this morning.

Chief Wade Branson had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer.

A a battle he had been fighting since September 2017.

Chief Branson was raised in Goshen and served his community with immense pride.

After all, ‘serving with pride’ was the motto Branson adopted for the Goshen Police Department’s 150th anniversary.

Chief Branson was first hired as a patrolman in July of 1983, and never looked back.

His life of service to the Elkhart and Goshen communities took him up the ranks of Sergeant in 1989, Detective in 1991, Goshen Drug Unit Captain in 1998, Elkhart County Interdiction and Covert Enforcement (ICE) Unit Captain in 2005, and finally as Chief of Police in 2009.

Jose Miller, the Acting Chief of Police, worked alongside Branson for many years and told ABC 57 News in a written statement, “Chief Branson had a vision of where he wanted the police department to go while under his command, and the department will continue moving forward in that direction."

"The Goshen Police Department is made up from some of the finest officers in our nation, and these officers will continue serving our great community. Even during these troubling times, your officers will be there should the need arise," said Acting Chief Miller.

Mayor Jeremy Stutsman is asking the community for their thoughts and their prayers for the Chief’s family, calling the Chief not only a colleague, but a friend.

Just last week, the mayor had presented Chief Wade with a key to the city.

Mayor Stutsman has ordered flags to be lowered at each city property through Monday, July 2.

In a statement sent to ABC 57 News, Acting Chief Miller said, “Most importantly to those of us working alongside him was that his door was always open."

"Any one of us, from the newest patrolman to the civilian staffer with 34 years on the department, could stop by his office to say hello, ask questions, or discuss nearly any topic, especially if it included his favorite topics, his grandsons or sports," said Mayor Stutsman.

Police departments across Michiana are paying their respects, too.

Elkhart Police Chief Ed Windbigler told ABC 57 News, "I have always had the highest admiration for Chief Branson, he was a man of integrity who inspired everyone around him. He will definitely be missed as a law enforcement leader in this area and as someone who loved his community."

South Bend Police took to social media saying, "Our thoughts are with our brothers and sisters in Goshen."

In a statement sent to ABC 57 News, Sheriff Brad Rogers from the Elkhart Sheriff's Department said, "Wade Branson was the consummate professional as the Chief of Police of Goshen Police Department. Wade and I had a great relationship and our collaborative efforts were positive and fruitful."

Wade was a true servant. I remain committed to helping Interim Chief Miller and the rest of Goshen PD in the months ahead, and more importantly in the days to come as we give honor to Wade," said Sheriff Rogers.

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