A Navajo police officer has died from COVID-19, according to the department based in Window Rock, Arizona.
In a release, the Navajo Police Department announced the loss of Officer Michael Lee, a 29-year veteran of the Chinle Police District. His Lee notified the department of his passing early this Friday morning.
“It is with great sorrow that the Navajo Police Department announces the passing of Officer Michael Lee. We are devastated and heartbroken.” Chief Phillip Francisco stated. “Officer Lee was a husband, a father, a son and a protector of his community. We ask the public to join us in remembering his commitment and contribution to his community and to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers today.”
Mr. Lee began his law enforcement career as a police recruit with the Navajo Police Academy in Toyei, Arizona in October 1990, according to the release. In his 29 years of dedication with the department, Mr. Lee was a patrol officer, a Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act officer, a supporter of the information technology component of the department, and he worked closely with the community. He began his career serving the Window Rock community for seven years and dedicated his remaining years to the Chinle community.
Mr. Lee is survived by his wife and children. The Navajo Police Department is currently working with state and local law enforcement partners regarding a procession Mr. Lee from Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix to Rollie Mortuary in Gallup, New Mexico.
The Navajo Police Department confirms this is the first officer line-of-duty death as a result of COVID-19.