Sergeant William J. Chapin

Sergeant William J. Chapin

Ithaca College Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management, New York

End of Watch Saturday, March 15, 1986

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William J. Chapin

Sergeant William Chapin drowned in the Buttermilk Creek gorge, in Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park, while attempting to rescue two students who had been swept into the icy waters.

Sergeant Chapin was on one of his days off when he was called in to assist with the rescue. His body was found four days later.


  • Age 25
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned

water rescue

Most Recent Reflection

View all 9 Reflections

Sergeant Chapin, it's now been 36 years since your tragic death while trying to save the lives of those students. You went above and beyond, especially it being your day off. We all wonder if our students will understand the lengths we'll go to for them. It's getting more and more difficult in today's society, yet we still are out there for them. I wonder if any of us could go the extreme as you did. I believe you must have been a very special guy.

God Bless you, Brother and may you continue to Rest forever in Peace. Thank you for your service.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Department

March 15, 2022

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