Fairlawn Police Chief Donald J. Duman, age 66, died on Sunday September 6th, 2020. He was born December 7th, 1953 in Pasadena, California to parents Frank and Olivia Eileen Duman (nee Harris).
Chief Duman devoted 37 years to protecting and serving all who would let him. He was a graduate of the 146th Session of the FBI National Academy, where he completed special coursework in internal affairs and terrorism. He earned numerous certifications and was granted many credentials from the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs Service, and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. While serving with the Cleveland Division of Police for 25 years, he was assigned to many leadership roles in sensitive operations including roles in internal affairs and narcotics, and spent much of his career standing up for those who needed an extra dose of grace, including through his work to help develop and implement the Greater Cleveland Drug Court and as an investigative member of the Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team.
After retiring from Cleveland in 2004, he knew his time protecting and serving wasn’t yet complete and went back to his roots as a patrol officer with the City of Fairlawn for 8 years. He was truly honored by the privilege to serve as the Fairlawn Chief of Police since 2017 and gave his all to his role and to the city. In his final days, Chief Duman fought hard to return to his team, telling all who would listen that he wasn’t done yet and how much he loved his team and the people of Fairlawn.
Chief Duman’s dedication to his community was recognized by many. He was the recipient of multiple letters of commendation, including the DEA Resident Agent in Charge, multiple commendations from acting FBI Directors, and multiple commendations from the United States Attorney. He sincerely appreciated all commendations but was most proud and humbled by the many letters and phone calls of appreciation he received from the citizens and organizations he served in Cuyahoga and Summit Counties.
In Chief Duman’s own words:
You should know that I have dedicated my life to law enforcement and the great trust and responsibility the citizens and city administration place on their officers. As events in the nation and world shape our reality and perception, it is essential that the public trust be maintained for the city administration and citizens alike. I believe the values, compassion, and integrity of an organization is paramount in its efficiency and perception it reflects to the public. I am thankful to have received numerous commendations and resolutions in my honor throughout my career, but am more thankful to have had the privilege to uphold the values of the communities I serve.
In both his career and personal life, Chief Duman lived each and every day with integrity. He held himself and his colleagues, members of his communities, family, and friends to the same high standard of life lived with integrity. He maintained a strong sense of right and wrong, was always kind to everyone he met, and was always there for anyone who needed help. Chief Duman viewed the world through a lens that focused on a person’s character and who they wanted to be, regardless of background, race, gender identity, belief system, education, credentials, or history. He treated everyone with respect and made everyone feel valued and important because he believed every person is important and has great value. Chief Duman was masterful at transitioning from moments that required a serious and diligent response to moments when it was time to laugh together, gracing the world with the most contagious laugh so many had the joy of experiencing with him and that so many will miss.
Some only knew Chief Duman as a lifelong law enforcement officer, while some knew him as an extra class Amateur Radio operator for 46 years, a hobby gardener, a lefty pitcher, a “tinkerer” who believed everything (tangible or otherwise) could be fixed, a week-long “Happy Birthday” singer, or a perpetual learner. But all who were blessed to know him knew Chief Duman as a man of God, a friend who was always there when you needed him, a proud dad, a devoted husband, a lifelong public servant, and a playful and kind soul who spent his life trying to leave the world a better place than he found it. Without question, he left the world and so many lives far too early, but in a far better place than he ever realized. Chief Duman will be missed by so many, but his family hopes all who knew him will continue his legacy in their own lives by living with great integrity and by being a source of help and kindness to all.
Preceded in death by his parents, he is survived by his wife, Lori A. Duman (nee Tindira); son, Officer Brian Duman; daughter, Jennifer Duman; and brothers, Robert (Marilyn) Duman, Richard (Ronald) Duman, and James (Judy) Duman.
Calling hours will be held from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Grace Church, Bath Campus (Ghent Location) on Monday September 14th. Funeral services with police honors will begin at 1 p.m. with Pastor Jeff Bogue officiating. Masks are required and social distancing shall be observed in accordance with the Summit County Health Commissioner’s directives.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Chief Duman's name may be made to the Bob Denton Safety Forces Center, 501 West Market St. Suite 301 Akron, OH 44303 and at www.safetyforcescenter.org.
Services entrusted to The Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory, 85 N Miller Road, Fairlawn, OH 44333.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Chief Donald J. Duman, please visit our floral store.
The Safety Forces Center
501 West Market Street Suite 301, Akron OH 44303