GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Green Cove Springs Police Department on Wednesday held a procession to honor Chief Derek Asdot, who died after a battle with COVID-19.
The Police Department escorted Asdot’s body from the hospital to the funeral home, along with the procession through town.
Green Cove Springs resident Jim Knight stood along Highway 17 to view the procession.
“I’ve known the chief for 20-25 years probably,” Knight said. “He was very, very, very well-liked and respected in our community, done a lot of good things, was really involved in the community, very active. You know what? It was nothing to see Derek at the park with his family and kids.”
Also on Wednesday, a growing memorial for Asdot — with flowers, balloons and a Thin Blue Line flag surrounding his cruiser — could be seen outside the Police Department building. The mood was somber around police headquarters and City Hall, where Green Cove Springs Mayor Ed Gaw said the loss has devastated not only the department and city government but the whole town.
“Replacement is a big word in trying to find someone that can follow in his path. He was innovative, imaginative, single-handedly built one of the greatest police forces in Northeast Florida with shortest response times,” Gaw said. “This community is going to take a little while to recover.”
A public information officer for the city of Green Cove Springs said Cmdr. John Guzman has been serving as acting police chief since mid-August. At the appropriate time, the spokesperson said, the city will begin the process of conducting a search for candidates to fill the police chief position on a permanent basis.
Funeral arrangements were announced Wednesday afternoon for Asdot. There will be a viewing Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hardage-Giddens at 11891 San Jose Blvd. in Jacksonville. Services will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 461 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park. The gravesite service will be for family only.
According to the Police Department, Asdot was an Army veteran who joined the agecncy in 2002 and was named chief of police in 2017. Asdot was a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Southern Police Institute and held a master’s degree from the University of Louisville.
Asdot also served as a DEA task force officer and he served as a board member on the St. Johns State River Academy law enforcement board.
He is survived by his wife, Angie, his son, Jake, and his daughter, Ashley.