Lt. Joel Ruff died from a medical emergency while on duty Thursday. He served 23 years with his department after having been a Police Explorer with the department as a youth. (Photo: Roswell Police Department) -

Lt. Joel Ruff died from a medical emergency while on duty Thursday. He served 23 years with his department after having been a Police Explorer with the department as a youth. (Photo: Roswell Police Department)

The Roswell (GA) Police Department, is mourning the loss of an officer with 23 years of experience on the force after he died unexpectedly following a medical emergency while on duty Thursday morning, 11Alive reported.

The department said in a release Thursday it was "heartbroken" to share the news of Lt. Joel Ruff's death. They did not detail the exact circumstances of his medical emergency.

“Before he ever pinned on his first badge, Lt. Ruff knew in his heart that service to our Roswell community was his calling. He began his career as one of our youth Police Explorers in 1995, and confirmed his passion for police work when he took his oath of office in 1998. He served our community in various roles with utmost dedication for 23 years.” the Roswell Police Department’s statement said.

Ruff’s most recent assignment was serving as watch commander for a nightshift patrol squad.

“The joy and pride he found in leading his men and women was infectious, and there was nothing he would not do or give of himself to see them succeed.  His presence is irreplaceable, and his memory unforgettable. Lieutenant, rest easy. We have the watch from here,” the statement added.

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