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Putnam County Sheriff remembers Green Cove Springs Police Chief Derek Asdot

Derek Asdot was a "transformational leader" according to a friend and colleague

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. — Green Cove Springs Police Chief Derek Asdot passed away Tuesday after a fight with COVID-19.

According to First Coast News' count, he is the 9th law enforcement officer on the First Coast to die from the virus.

"Derek was large in stature but larger than life in person," Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach described his friend and colleague. 

Flags are flying at half staff in the small town this week. His car is now a memorial outside the police station.

Shortly after starting as an officer with the Green Cove Springs Police in 2002, Asdot was selected to go to Quantico, Virgina to the Drug Enforcement Administration Academy.

So was DeLoach, who was a deputy at the time, just one county south in Putnam.

"We rode together," DeLoach recalled.  "Although we knew each other, we became close friends then. We talked about lots of things: Life, politics, our family."

 "Derek told me he aspired to be chief in Green Cove Springs one day, and we started talking about that," DeLoach recalled from that trip. "I told him, 'That’s funny because my goal is to run for Sheriff in Putnam County.'"

In 2016, Deloach was elected sheriff, and in 2017 Asdot became police chief in Green Cove Springs. They both attended each other's swearing in ceremonies.

They even attended the FBI Academy together.

"See that brick right there," DeLoach pointed to a yellow brick on display in his office. It's a memento from the academy. "Derek has one in his office just like it."

In four years as police chief, Asdot became known as a transformative leader in tight knit Green Cove Springs.

"Instead of being an agency-centric organization, he made it all about the community and his personnel. He did a lot of outreach," DeLoach said.

Tuesday, Asdot passed away from COVID-19. Officers and deputies escorted Asdot’s body from the hospital back to Green Cove springs Wednesday.  People lined the streets to honor him. 

"If there was a person strong enough and had drive to pull through such a profound disease progression, Derek was that person," DeLoach said.

Asdot leaves behind a wife and two children. 

His funeral will be on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Orange Park. Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hardage Giddens at 11891 San Jose Blvd. in Jacksonville.