Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West confirmed this morning that a member of his command staff passed away Thursday after collapsing at work.

Maj. Jay Memmelaar, head of the police department's Support Services division was 49 years old.

"He was a great man," West said. "He will be missed by many."

West was unable to confirm the cause of death, but said Memmelaar was in the office late in the day Thursday when he suffered a medical emergency.

He was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital were he was later pronounced dead.

"He had 25 years of service with us," an audibly distraught West said over the phone.

West said the department was still dealing with the news and out of respect for the family had little else to say publicly at this time.

In a written statement sent out a short time later, West said both the Goldsboro Police Department and the city lost a great officer and a dear friend.

"Maj. Jay Memmelaar passed away unexpectedly yesterday and will be missed dearly by his brothers and sisters in blue, as well as many others."

West asked that the community keep the fallen officer's family in its prayers.