Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Deputy Sheriff John E. Rafter

Rockingham County Sheriff's Office, Virginia

End of Watch Monday, February 7, 1983

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Deputy Sheriff John E. Rafter

John, Missing you all of my life. You were a good role model to me, a rookie with Harrisonburg police dept. at the time. Wishing you had a car with cage for transport and waist and foot restraints for your prisoner
I hope you know the positive effect you had on the youth of Rockingham co. You are greatly missed and will be forever missed by your brothers in blue/brown/gray and blue. RIP My friend and Godspeed ROCKINGHAM 214. Mike Stanley Hpd 16.

Michael W. Stanley HPD, PCSO

February 4, 2020

Think of you from time to time. Glad to of worked with you

John Clanahan
Brother Deputy

December 9, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Rafter, rest in peace.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 6, 2019

I knew John in 1977 I resigned from RCSD. I wore the badge of # 214. It breaks my heart to hear of his death. I counted John as a real friend. Rest in peace John.

Sam Petry
Good friends

March 17, 2015

John was a good man and co-worker. His death was too early in life. He most always wore his bulletproof vest, but on this day he didn't. Unfortunately, it took his death to force improved equipment in our department. We owe them all to him. John will not be forgotten.

Michael Layman (Sgt./Ret.)
Rockingham County Sheriff's Office

January 3, 2013

I reflect on this tragedy often over the years. I'm Sgt. K. L. Hyden, and I was one of the law enforcement officers that apprehended the suspect after Deputy Raftner was shot. He was still waving the Deputy's revolver in his hand. Time has helped heal my issues with the shooting and the killing of a fellow officer, but I've never forgotten the incident or the vision of Deputy Rafter's lifeless body. God bless us all.

Sergeant Kenneth L. Hyden
Virginia State Police

August 17, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 29th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect and you will always be honored and revered. I pray for solace for all those that love and remember you for I know the pain and pride are forever. Your family is in my heart's embrace today.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

February 7, 2012

He is not forgotten. RIP John.

Constable Amanda Pandolfi
York Regional Police, Ontario Canada

February 7, 2011

“ A Prayer for the day when we don’t have new names to mourn”.

Deputy S. Williams
Salt Lake County Sheriff, UT

April 3, 2009

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1993 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

April 7, 2008


Pat Van Den Berghe
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

February 5, 2008

Still think about you from time to time Brother. It's not how you died but how you lived. Rest Now!

Officer R. Johnson
Harrisonburg PD (former member)

August 4, 2006

Over 23 years have now passed since the day Deputy Rafter died, but not a day goes by without our reflecting upon his life and his ultimate sacrifice. All of us in the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office express our continued sincere condolences to his family and those who have had the privilege of knowing and working with this outstanding law enforcement officer.

Rick Claybrook
Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney
Harrisonburg/ Rockingham County VA

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney
Harrisonburg/ Rockingham CWA's Office

February 19, 2006

You are not forgotten, 23 yrs. ago today you gave your live, thank you, a true hero!

City of Miami PD (Fla)

February 7, 2006

Rest in peace Deputy Rafter. You have not been forgotten. You are/were a true hero.

February 7, 2005

On behalf of the men and women of the Virginia State University, Police Department, our thoughts and prayers to the Rafter family and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department.

Virginia State University Police Department

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