WAVERLY, TN (WSMV) - The family of a Waverly police officer is grieving over his unexpected death.

News4 spoke with officer Greg Triplett about his terrifying experience with the floodwaters. He was the only officer on duty when Waverly started flooding a month ago. On Sunday, the police department announced he died from complications of COVID-19. 

Family members said Triplett served in law enforcement for more than 30 years. He was a lifelong Waverly resident and joined the Waverly Police Department in 1998.

"It was. I don't even know the word to describe it. It still doesn't feel like it's real," Mary Beth Frazier, Officer Greg Triplett's daughter, said.

In the weeks after the flood, Frazier said her dad began showing symptoms of COVID. He lost his taste and smell and then got pneumonia.

"Dad was not one to ever go to a doctor. He didn't want any needles. He was terrified of them. Finally, he told my mom to call an ambulance because he could not breathe. We knew it was bad," Frazier said.

At the hospital, doctors also discovered issues with Triplett's heart.

His daughter remembers getting a text message from him.

"He said that he just wanted me to know that he loved me and that he was proud of me and that he didn't know if he was going to come home," Frazier said.

While the family prepares for a funeral, they're also sharing fond memories.

Many knew Triplett as someone always willing to help, and if you were close, he had a prank up his sleeve.

"He's always pranked people, and he loved it, but if you pranked him, he couldn't stand it," Frazier said.

"Probably the cutting up and just the good times we've had," Chief Grant Gillespie with the Waverly Police Department said.

Chief Gillespie started at the police department around the same time as Triplett. The Chief has supported the family any way he can, knowing all they've been through lately.

"Losing the house and your stuff is nothing like losing your family. He nearly did that morning, and unfortunately, they've lost him," Chief Gillespie said.

It's been challenging processing Triplett's death, but Gillespie said plans are in the works to give them the sendoff he deserves.

"We look at this as a line of duty death. I feel like he probably contracted covid while he was at work. There had been a little bit of time passed between when some of his family got it and when he got it," Chief Gillespie said.

In 2018, Frazier got a tattoo of her dad's badge numbers. It now holds extra special meaning.

"A lot more than I thought it would," Frazier said.

Officer Triplett previously served in corrections, dispatch, and as a school resource officer. He leaves behind his wife Lora and five children.

Chief Gillespie said a line of duty funeral would be held on Thursday at 2 p.m.

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