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FPD remembers officer, friend

A local police department is remembering a longtime member of the force who made an impact on those he met.

Don Duncan Jr., a retired sergeant with the Farmington Police Department and, most recently, code enforcement officer for the city, died on Thursday. He was 63 years old.

His coworkers took time to remember the impact Duncan made on their lives – and the lives of all those who he met through his work with the city and as a leader of Boy Scout Troop 471 in Farmington.

Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker, himself a former Boy Scout, said Duncan exemplified the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law each day of his life.

“A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” Baker said, reciting the law from memory. “You had to learn that to get a merit badge, so I remember that. All of those words reflected Don … the last one especially.”

Duncan joined the Farmington Police Department in July of 1984. He was promoted to sergeant in June of 1990. He retired as a police officer in 2015.

Duncan most recently worked part time for the Public Works Department as the code enforcement officer and served as a reserve officer on the force.

Tim Porter became the director of development services for the city in July. Before that, Porter worked with Duncan at the Farmington Police Department.

On Facebook, Porter shared the story of how he first met the man who would be Porter’s training officer after joining the force in 1995 and, most recently worked under Porter’s supervision at the Public Works department.

After Porter moved to Farmington in the summer of 1987, he was pulled over one afternoon after making left turn onto Washington Street from the right lane of Columbia Street – a one-way street in downtown.

“Almost immediately, a light-blue Ford Crown Victoria lit me up,” Porter wrote. “I pulled to the side of the road and waited. Up walked this thin, sharp dressed police officer. He wore a pair of dark-lensed aviators and had a well-manicured mustache. He wasn’t smiling. It was Don.

“He was no-nonsense but professional. He listened to my explanation, took my license and insurance information, and headed back to his car. Upon his return, he explained to me what I had done wrong and gave me a warning.

“That’s how Don was. He would give breaks when he could. He wasn’t just looking to write a ticket for the sake of writing a ticket … Don was one of my training officers. He was quiet and somewhat intimidating. But after an hour or so with him, I realized that this was a cool dude. It wasn’t long that we formed a long-lasting friendship; a brotherhood really. He was a kind man who would do anything for anyone.”

Porter said he would later drive that same patrol car as his first vehicle with the department. He also said Duncan spoke often on his service in the United State Army and with the Boy Scouts of America organization.

Steve Slinkard worked as a scoutmaster for Troop 471 with Duncan.

“He was always there for the boys, a leader that helped the boys,” Slinkard said. “He was committed to the organization … and made the comment one time ‘as long as there is one boy interested in the Boy Scouts I will be here.’

Slinkard said they worked on numerous Eagle Scout projects together – including that of Duncan’s son, Jordan.

“He never got shook,” Slinkard said. “He never got upset with anything. He always just went with the flow, rolled with the punches.”

This is the second leader the troop has lost in recent years, with Slinkard noting the loss of leader Mark White.

Baker said his nickname at the department was “Don the Legend” – one of the longest-serving officers before retiring in 2015. In his post, Porter wrote Duncan signed off with “The Legend is 10-42 Farmington” after his last full-time shift.

“Don, I knew, was older than me and he was still working the road with the younger guys,” Baker said. “I asked him one day … it was probably around 2014, I’d asked him, ‘hey Don, you thinking about retiring?’ He said, ‘yeah, I think about it all the time, I don’t know how much longer I can do it.’

“I said, ‘how are you going to know?’ He said, ‘you know, Rick, I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t know. I think one of these days I’ll just wake up and say, you know what, I’ve had enough and I’m going to retire.’”

One day, Duncan came walking into Baker’s office.

“…when he decided (to retire), he walks into my office and says, ‘Hey, Rick. Guess what?’ I said, ‘What’s that, Don?’” to which Baker said he replied “I woke up today … it’s time to retire.”

“One of these days, I’m going to take his advice and say ‘you know what, Don? It’s time for me to go.’”

Survivors include his wife, Teri (Brann) Duncan; six daughters: Samantha, Erin, Jaime, Donna, Ashley and Amanda; a son, Jordan; 11 grandchildren: Saydie, Colton, Austin, Kinsley, Gavin, Allie Grace, Bella, Scarlet, Stella, Ellie and Nolan, who is on the way; a host of nieces, nephews and extended family.

He was born October 12, 1954 to the late Donald Ray Duncan, Sr. and Helen Laverne (Starks) Duncan. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his brother, Dwayne Duncan.

Visitation for Duncan is from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday at Cozean Memorial Chapel and Crematory, located at 217 W. Columbia St. Visitation resumes from 7 to 10 a.m. on Monday, with services at 10 a.m. at Cozean’s. Interment services are at Arcadia Valley Memorial Cemetery in Arcadia Valley.

Memorials may be made to Boy Scout Troop 471 in care of the funeral home. 

Don Duncan, Jr. died on Thursday at the age of 63. He retired as a police sergeant and then worked as a code enforcement officer for Farmington. 

Don Duncan, Jr. died on Thursday at the age of 63. He retired as a police sergeant and then worked as a code enforcement officer for Farmington. 

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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