CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the death of former Sheriff Dennis Proffitt. He was the 65th Sheriff of Chesterfield County.

Proffitt died May 17 after a battle with an illness, according to a release by the Sheriff’s Office.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a true leader, friend and human being,” Sheriff Karl Leonard said.

Proffitt joined the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Office in 1997 and was promoted to undersheriff in 1999. He was elected sheriff in 2007 after Sheriff Clarence Williams retired. The county said Proffitt served selflessly in the position until he retired in 2014 to care for his ailing wife, Becky Dickson.

“He was a selfless man, leaving a job he loved so much to provide care for his wife until her passing,” Sheriff Leonard said. “But that is the person he was. [He was] always looking after everyone else, always thinking of others, always helping anyone who needed help, always putting others before him and always paying it forward.

Before joining the Sheriff’s Office, Proffitt began his career as a dispatcher with Henrico County Police. He then joined Chesterfield Police Department in 1975 where he was quickly promoted to detective in the vice and narcotics unit serving as the first undercover officer in the history of the department. He earned Police Officer of the Year in 1979 with the county.

He was also one of the first members of the department’s inaugural SWAT team.

“Our Sheriff’s family lost a coveted loved one today, leaving a hole in our armor,” Leonard said. “His legacy will live forever in what he created in the Sheriff’s Office. His legacy is forever etched into the fiber of this organization.

Chesterfield Sheriff Dennis Proffitt