Officer Valentin Martinez, 45, and his wife were expecting a child when he passed away, the Los Angeles Police Department said. He worked as a patrol officer based out of the department’s Mission station in the San Fernando Valley.
“Today we lost Officer Valentin Martinez, who tragically fell to COVID-19,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore tweeted. “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 force in 2007 and his domestic partner is 20-weeks pregnant with their twins. The COVID-19-related death marks that of the first of a sworn officer in the LAPD and the second in the department.
Earlier this month, LAPD senior detention officer Erica McAdoo, 39, passed away from the virus.
In a statement, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file officers, said Martinez “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,” the union said. “We honor their sacrifice today.”
As of Thursday, 449 LAPD employees have contracted the virus, including 333 sworn officers. Of those, 270 have returned to work.
The agency has seen a spike in coronavirus cases among its ranks that was partially attributed to interactions between officers and protesters following the death of George Floyd, Police Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Times.
“This was a 21 percent increase and is about twice the rate of our historic rate of change over the history of the pandemic,” he told the civilian Police Commission this week.