Officer Ahmed Mackey of Somerset County Sheriff’s Officers, End of Watch: Nov. 22, 2020

Big Ideas

The tragic loss of Ahmed Mackey leaves Somerset County Sheriff’s Office mourning one of its most valuable members

Ahmed Mackey of Somerset County Sheriff’s Officers Local 272 was an ideas guy. That’s why Somerset County Sheriff Darrin Russo had recently appointed him to the public relations team at the Sheriff’s Office.

“He was just coming up with ideas, good things for the department and the community,” shared Russo, who was elected sheriff in January 2020. “Bringing flowers to cancer patients, food to staff in the hospital, things like that. He was coming up with a couple of toy drive ideas.”

In October, Mackey spearheaded an initiative to bring pink carnations to breast cancer patients at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Officers pulled up with pink patrol vehicles, and the staff — along with patients who waved at the officers from their windows — loved the event.

“I think that was a big eye-opener for me about how effective Mackey was,” Russo said. “It wasn’t like, ‘Oct. 1, let’s do this.’ He had planned it for months.”

Mackey, who was 50 years old, tragically suffered a heart attack on Nov. 22 while at work. Nearby officers performed CPR and transported him to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, where he passed away that afternoon.

He was a 20-year veteran of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. Mackey served seven years with Conrail and Norfolk Southern Railway Police before joining the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office in January 2001.

The certified gang resistance education and training officer also acted as president of the state Juvenile Justice Association and was a valued member of the Hate Crime Bias Unit. Russo posthumously promoted Mackey to sergeant.

The sheriff expressed that the office suffered a monumental loss with Mackey, who assisted at the front desk with a grin and always offered free-flowing creative energy to continually invest in the community.

“My [PR team leader] would come down to my office a couple times a week and be like, ‘It’s Mackey again, he’s got two or three more ideas,’” Russo said, fondly recalling Mackey planning Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day events for the coming year. “He’s going to be missed tremendously. But we’ve all got a little bit of Mackey in us. We’re going to keep his thoughts and ideas going.”