Somerset County Sheriff Brad Cramer has died.
Cramer, 67, devoted his life to law enforcement and will be remembered for it, according to county officials who confirmed his death.
“This is truly a loss for the county,” said Somerset County President Commissioner Gerald Walker.
Cramer, who underwent surgery over the weekend as part of an ongoing battle with cancer, died Saturday night while still hospitalized for the procedure, Walker said.
Before that, he’d continued leading his department and attended the commissioners’ most recent meeting in late March, chatting with the board about an upcoming firearms training course.
Somerset County District Attorney Jeff Thomas described Cramer as a true public servant whose sudden passing leaves a “tremendous” void.
“Brad’s presence in the courthouse will be greatly missed,” said Thomas, describing Cramer as a friend and colleague. Thomas’ detectives often worked alongside Cramer and his staff on Drug Task Force investigations.
“My deepest condolences to his family,” Thomas said.
Cramer’s career in law enforcement spanned four decades. Before being elected as sheriff in 2015, Cramer previously worked as a deputy in the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. He also worked for 30 years at Somerset Borough Police Department, spending six of those years as police chief, and spent four more years working in Conemaugh Township.
Cramer was a staunch Second Amendment supporter and NRA-certified firearm instructor. In a 2019 interview with The Tribune-Democrat, he described county sheriffs as Pennsylvania “protectors” of Second Amendment rights.
He was also a personable guy who enjoyed the career to which he dedicated so many years, Walker said.
He said he got to know Cramer while the two were on their first campaigns for their county offices six years ago. Over the past few weeks, Walker said, he took his 5-year-old grandson into the sheriff’s office, and he noted Cramer formed a fast bond with the boy.
“Brad had some (uniform) patches for him. My grandson told him he wanted to be a cop, too,” Walker said.
The Cambria County Sheriff’s Office paid tribute to Cramer through a post on the department’s Facebook page Sunday.
“Acting Sheriff Don Robertson and the Cambria County Sheriff’s Office would like to express our deepest sympathy to our neighbors at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office on the loss of their sheriff, Brad Cramer,” the department wrote. “Our office knows all too well the sorrow that accompanies losing your leader. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. RIP Sheriff Cramer.”
Cambria County Sheriff Robert Kolar died in 2020 at the age of 75.