Craig Chamberlin, a former deputy with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and a past sheriff challenger, passed away on April 30, 2023 at the age of 52. His death shocked and saddened many people who knew him as a dedicated and respected law enforcement officer. But what was the cause of Craig Chamberlin’s death? How did he die? Here are some facts you need to know.
A Long and Honorable Career
Craig Chamberlin joined the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in 1999 and served for more than two decades in various roles, including patrol deputy, detective, public information officer, and spokesperson. He was also a member of the SWAT team, the bomb squad, and the honor guard. He received several awards and commendations for his service, such as the Medal of Valor, the Life Saving Award, and the Sheriff’s Star.
He was also active in the community, participating in events such as Shop with a Cop, Special Olympics, and Cops and Kids. He was known for his friendly and professional demeanor, his sense of humor, and his passion for helping others. He was a mentor to many young deputies and a role model to many citizens.
In 2018, he ran for Spokane County Sheriff against incumbent Ozzie Knezovich, but lost in the primary election. He continued to work as a deputy until he was fired in March 2023 for alleged dishonesty and policy violations. He appealed his termination and was awaiting a hearing at the time of his death.
A Tragic and Unexpected Death
On April 30, 2023, Craig Chamberlin was found unresponsive in his home by his family members. They called 911 and performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. His death was ruled as natural by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office, which confirmed that he died of an overdose of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is often used to treat severe pain or as an anesthetic during surgery. However, it is also illegally manufactured and sold on the streets, often mixed with other drugs such as heroin or cocaine. It can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death if taken in high doses or by people who are not tolerant to opioids.
According to KREM News, documents obtained from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office revealed that fentanyl may have been a factor in Chamberlin’s death. The documents stated that Chamberlin had been under investigation for allegedly stealing fentanyl patches from a deceased person’s home while responding to a call in January 2023. He reportedly admitted to taking the patches and using them himself. He also allegedly lied about the incident and tried to cover it up.
The documents also stated that Chamberlin had been struggling with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to his job-related stress and personal issues. He had sought counseling and medication, but his condition worsened after he was fired. He reportedly told his therapist that he had suicidal thoughts and that he had access to firearms.
A Legacy of Love and Service
Despite the controversy surrounding his death, Craig Chamberlin was remembered by his family, friends, colleagues, and community as a loving father, a loyal friend, a brave hero, and a devoted servant. He left behind four daughters, two sons-in-law, two grandchildren, his parents, his siblings, his nieces and nephews, and many other relatives and friends.
His family issued a statement on Facebook, thanking everyone for their support and asking for privacy during this difficult time. They also shared some of his favorite quotes that reflected his values and beliefs:
- “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
- “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7
- “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13
A memorial service for Craig Chamberlin was held on May 8 at Valley Real Life Church in Greenacres. Hundreds of people attended the service, including law enforcement officers from various agencies who gave him a final salute. His daughters delivered eulogies that praised him for his courage, compassion, generosity, faithfulness, and wisdom. They said that he taught them how to live with integrity, dignity, grace, and joy.
Craig Chamberlin’s cause of death may have been tragic and unexpected, but his life was full of meaning and purpose. He touched many lives with his kindness and service. He will be missed by many who loved him and respected him. He will be remembered as a hero who gave his all for his family and his community.