The Los Angeles Police Department says one of its officers died Friday as a result of COVID-19.
The officer, 45-year-old Valentin Martinez, who worked at the Mission Division in the north San Fernando Valley, is the first LAPD officer and the second employee to die as a result of the coronavirus.
"Today we mourn the loss of 45-year-old Los Angeles Police Officer Valentin 'Val' Martinez," the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file officers, said in a statement. "He was a hero lost way too early in life. All of our officers have placed themselves, and their families, at increased risk throughout the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We honor their sacrifice today.
"The Los Angeles Police Protective League, along with Officer Martinez's brothers and sisters at the Mission Division, will always remember Officer Martinez’s service to the Los Angeles Police Department and to our community. We send our love and prayers to his family and offer them our unwavering support during their time of unbelievable grief."
Chief Michel Moore tweeted: "Today we lost Officer Valentin Martinez, who tragically fell to COVID-19. He worked as a patrol officer within @LAPDMission, dedicating his life to the people of LA. To his partner Megan, his mother, and siblings—our deepest condolences. Ofcr Martinez, May God welcome you home."
Martinez joined the LAPD in 2007. The department said his domestic partner is 20-weeks pregnant with the couple's twins.
As of late Thursday the LAPD reported it had a total of 449 employees who have tested positive at any time since the pandemic began earlier this year.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
Of those 270 had recovered and returned to work. The remainder were either recovering at home or isolating from other employees.
The LAPD's Central and 77th Street Divisions have reported the greatest number of employee cases, according to City's latest data.
On July 3 a non-police officer employee was the first to succumb to complications of the coronavirus. Senior detention officer Erica McAdoo had worked inside the LAPD's jails.
By contrast other large metropolitan police departments have reported far more widespread infections and numerous deaths.
The NYPD said Friday at least 45 employees have died as a result of coronavirus and as of early June, more than 5,700 had tested positive.
Most recovered and returned to work, according to NYPD Sgt. Mary Frances O'Donnell.
The Los Angeles City Fire Department has also reported relatively few coronavirus cases amongst its employees. As of Thursday LAFD said a total of 142 firefighters had tested positive and 100 of them had recovered and returned to work. No firefighters have died.
"We must act as if everyone we come into contact with is infected with the coronavirus," LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said last month.
"The prevention measures we have in place have done much to keep us safe from contracting the disease from patient contacts and we must continue to follow these protocols to protect ourselves, our families, and members of the public," Terrazas said.