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NMSU awards fallen police officer with posthumous degree

The Associated Press and KOB.com Web Staff
December 20, 2016 10:16 PM

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University has awarded a posthumous degree to a Hatch police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

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The degree was awarded to the family of Officer Jose Chavez during the university's fall commencement ceremony in Las Cruces.

Chavez died Aug. 12 after being shot during a traffic stop.

According to NMSU’s website, Chavez’s mother Maria Chavez and his daughters – 14-year-old Janiley and 6-year-old Aryan – received the degree on Jose Chavez’s behalf.

“His death has changed my life,” Maria Chavez said. “It destroyed my life, but receiving this helps with the pain which I will feel for the rest of my life.”

University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said during the commencement that Jose Chavez was a dedicated student and gave his life serving the community.

Chavez was somebody his colleagues say embodied an American success story. The 33-year-old officer was a first-generation college student who had always dreamed of serving his community as a police officer.

“Officer Chavez was a dedicated student and gave his life serving this community,” Carruthers said. “He absolutely earned this degree and we were proud to present it to his family. He’s a perfect example of how NMSU is a caring community.”

At the time of his death, he was studying criminal justice and had nearly completed his degree. Chavez had just registered for his last semester of classes just days before he was killed.

“He already had a career, but it was clear that education was important to him,” said Associate Professor Carlos Posadas, Chavez’s adviser in NMSU’s criminal justice program.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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The Associated Press and KOB.com Web Staff

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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