Navajo Nation police force loses first officer to COVID-19

New Mexico

CHINLE, Ariz. (AP) — A 50-year-old Navajo Nation police officer has died at a Phoenix hospital, becoming the first officer on the tribal police force to die from COVID-19 in the line of duty.

Police Department officials say Officer Michael Lee died Friday at Banner-University Medical Center in Phoenix.

Police Chief Phillip Francisco said the department was “devastated and heartbroken” by the death of Lee, whom Francisco called “a husband, a father, a son and a protector of his community.”

Lee served 29 years with the tribal department, beginning his law enforcement career as a police recruit with the Navajo Police Academy in 1990.

The department says survivors include Lee’s wife and children. 

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