In memoriam: COVID-19 deaths among public safety, local government personnel

Honoring the public servants who have lost their lives due to COVID-19


Mounted police officers escort the hearse in during the funeral services for Chicago police Officer Ronald Newman at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, April 23, 2020. Newman, 59, is the third Chicago police officer who has died from complications stemming from COVID-19. Image: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune

As the official U.S. COVID-19 death toll tops 60,000, the impact on local government agencies has been profound. While we at Gov1 sought to keep an ongoing count of confirmed cases among police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other local government personnel, we ultimately had to admit a heartbreaking truth: There were simply too many to accurately report on.

By the very nature of their professions, these men and women started falling ill in staggering numbers, leaving agencies across the country scrambling to figure out how to continue serving their communities.

And as more and more diagnoses took turns for the worse, we wanted to make sure these tragedies received the attention they deserve.

“This is a very surreal feeling,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea in a March 30 interview, after five members of the department had succumbed to the virus.

“We pride ourselves on taking care of our family and we’re in a situation right now where we don’t even really have time to mourn. It’s every man and every woman stepping in and trying to get a mission done. And we will mourn, but it won’t be today. There is just too much work to do.”

The department recently announced its 31st death.

And it hasn’t just been public safety personnel putting themselves in harm’s way; transit workers have been especially hard hit. Nearly 100 have now lost their lives from COVID-19 complications, The Guardian reports.

To honor these men and women, we’ve compiled the following lists with the help of our sister publications.

If we’ve missed any reports in your area, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Sarah is based in North Carolina, where she lives with her son and several rambunctious reptiles. Before taking on her current role with Lexipol, she was the staff writer for the tech website DZone and served as an assistant editor with the rural lifestyle publication GRIT Magazine. Get in touch with her at

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