Community remembers retired York officer killed at toll booth

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Loved ones began the ceremony by saying Ronald Heist loved food, dogs, and his family. He also loved his community, which is why folks are devastated another person who served in his very career took his life.

“We lost a friend. We lost one of our brother officers,” Chief Wes Kahley of the York City police department, said.

They lost Heist to a senseless act of violence.

“For having somebody who is in law enforcement to have done this, just, broke my heart. I just couldn’t believe it,” Dennis Smith, a retired York City police officer and friend, said.

Heist was a U.S. Marine. He would eventually join the York City police department, working with canines. Following his retirement in 1995, Heist served as a York County park ranger. Then a security officer with Schaad Detective Agency. A combined 48 years.

“Here was a gentleman that served for a very long time and should’ve been at a point in his life when he didn’t have to worry about those things but unfortunately it found him,” Chief Kahley said.

Smith recalled his last conversation with Heist, less than a week before he died.

“I had a few days growth of beard on my face and he was kidding me about that and I just kind of brushed his cheek with my cheek and I gave him a kiss and I said, ‘this is what happens when you make fun of me’,” Dennis said.

He will be remembered for his great sense of humor.

Community members said they’d like to see a memorial built for both victims at the Fort Littleton toll booth. Heist will be honored again by York City police in May.

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