Gainesville Police Chief Steven Fleming dies after work-related accident

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- Gainesville police say their Chief 44-year-old Steven Fleming died around 12:30 Friday afternoon from injuries he sustained in an accident at the police department on October 25th.

"He truly had a heart for public service," Gainesville City Manager Barry Sullivan said.

Sullivan says Fleming was working in the department's evidence building when he fell off a ladder.

"We haven't lost an officer on duty for probably 60 years," Sullivan said.

Fleming served the Gainesville Police department for 22 years. He started his career as a police officer in 1991 then six years later he advanced to corporal. A year later he earned the rank of Sergeant and then Captain in 2003. It was in 2008 when he was promoted to Chief.

"The biggest impact, it was the integrity factor. Things were black and white. If there was an issue he would address it directly," Sullivan said.

Sullivan says Fleming was a friend to the community and always lent a hand when needed.

"You could see him moving barricades at parades. His mission was to provide for the needs of the community. No matter how small or large the task," Sullivan said.

Fleming not only leaves behind a department of about 55 men and women, but a wife and daughter.

"That's where he spent most of his time was with his daughter doing equestrian events," Sullivan said.

The Gainesville Police Department says it will not be easy to go on without Fleming, but they will move forward.

"Because they know he would want them to continue that's what they're doing and they're brothers in blue and they are protecting the city," Sullivan said.

Sullivan says Capt. Kevin Phillips has been appointed as acting chief.

Funeral arrangements for Fleming are pending.