CHICAGO – The Chicago Police Department lost their first officer to coronavirus, officials announced Thursday.
Marco Di Franco, a highly decorated officer, became the department’s first virus-related death, CBS News reported.
DiFranco, 50, was a 21-year veteran assigned to the narcotics division.
Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck said Di Franco contracted the virus last week and was hospitalized over the weekend.
We are devasted to confirm that #COVID19 has hit the Chicago Police Department and a dedicated family of city public servants very hard. We will join Mayor Lori Lightfoot at 11am at a press conference to provide additional detail. Please tune in to the stream @chicagosmayor pic.twitter.com/0FmVuEgAhP
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) April 2, 2020
Beck said Di Franco was highly decorated and had received 154 awards over the course of his career.
“His sacrifice underscores the threats that are faced by public safety employees who are not, by the nature of their profession, allowed to shelter in place, shelter at home,” Beck said. “We’ve always been more at risk for violence because of our profession. Now, I think, we are more at risk for virus because of our profession.”
Di Franco leaves behind his wife and two children, 7 and 10. His brother is also an officer in the same narcotics unit, according to Beck.