AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin police officer has died of COVID-19 – the first death in the department since the start of the pandemic 17 months ago.
Interim Police Chief Joe Chacon notified officers that Senior Patrol Officer Randolph Boyd, who joined the force in 2014, died early Wednesday.
Boyd was one of at least two officers currently in the hospital due to the virus and among 41 currently on leave because they are currently ill or recovering.
"Randy was a great officer who gave everything he had for a life of service," Chacon said. "Despite the surging pandemic, officers have continued to put their lives on the line, showing up to serve the Austin community while placing themselves in harm's way."
Chacon went on to ask officers to "honor his memory by taking all precautions to keep yourself and your family safe."
“I am saddened by the death of Austin Senior Patrol Officer Randolph Boyd. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said Mayor Steve Adler. “Officer Boyd is the first Austin police officer to die from the virus, but the news that he was one of two officers hospitalized and among dozens more are on leave because of their illness is deeply concerning to me. We will continue to evaluate all available options and resources to keep our employees safe.”
Nationally, more officers have died of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 than any other cause, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
In May, state lawmakers passed a bill allowing officers' families to have access to line-of-duty death benefits if they die of COVID-19, making it presumptive that they contracted the virus on the job.
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