Buena Vista retired assistant police chief honored with escort home

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 10:33 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s hard to say goodbye when it doesn’t feel like it’s time yet.

“It’s heartbreaking, I really haven’t processed it yet,” said Sgt. John Snider with the Buena Vista Police Department.

As the sun set in the city of Buena Vista Monday, Jay Patterson came back home, a place, where he lived to serve.

“He was the go-to-guy, for whatever you had, any problem, he was who you called, if you had a bad day, even after he retired, that’s whose house I would go to if I had a problem,” said Snider.

“He was always there for us. Jay had 20-something years experience and he worked nights with us, when he didn’t have to,” said Sgt. Alan Buzzard with BVPD.

Snider and Buzzard have known Patterson their entire lives. Buzzard says his dad trained Patterson at the PD and Snider knows the entire Patterson family. They credit him as a great leader, friend and man who could never be forgotten, especially for his favorite shoes.

“We’d get an urgent call and he would be in some half form of a uniform. A police top, a pair of shorts, and always moccasins. He wore moccasins all the time,” said Snider.

Jay’s fear of snakes is another story that comes top of mind.

“I come up on a rather large black snake; I’m not scared of snakes and Jay was on his four-wheeler, and I’ll never figure this one out. He got off his four-wheeler and started running and here I am chasing him with this black snake. He had a few choice words for me,” recalled Buzzard.

Most of the words Jay shared were words of encouragement. His career in policing started as a dispatcher in 1982. He worked his way up to an officer, investigator, Sergeant, Lieutenant and finally Assistant Chief.

Through tears, hugs and pictures, his community is mourning, but even if it wasn’t time, Jay Patterson’s legacy here will never be lost.

“He’s a legend and legends never die,” said Snider.

“He’s the one who got me where I’m at and I just want to make him happy and I, I hope I did,” said Buzzard.

As of now, no plans have been announced for Patterson’s funeral.

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