1 police department loses 2 officers to COVID-19 within days

(AURORA, Ill.) — Two officers with the Aurora Police Department in Illinois — both 51 years old — have died of COVID-19 within days of each other.

Aurora police officer Brian Shields died of COVID-19 on Jan. 11.

“Officer Shields served with dedication, loyalty, and honorable police service to the City of Aurora for more than 16 years,” the department said.

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the death of Officer Brian Shields. Our condolences and prayers go out to Brian’s family, his friends, and to all those he served with during his more than 16 years as an officer with APD. https://t.co/hEROv916qn pic.twitter.com/Pn8VngyUfb

— Aurora Police Department (@AuroraPoliceIL) January 13, 2022

Shields, an Illinois native, worked as a reporter before becoming a police officer, according to his obituary.

He’s survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

Just days later, on Jan. 19, Aurora Police Sgt. Ken Thurman died of COVID-19, the department said.

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the death of Sergeant Ken Thurman. Sergeant Thurman passed away Wednesday, at the age of 51. He died from complications related to his contracting COVID-19 while serving the Aurora community. Read more: https://t.co/v1FUXN0oCg pic.twitter.com/PWQgwbt3tU

— Aurora Police Department (@AuroraPoliceIL) January 20, 2022

Thurman served 22 years with the Aurora Police Department, including in the Community Oriented Policing unit which helps the community form strong relationships with police, the department said.

He also helped lead the implementation of new body cameras and dash cameras, the department said.

“Sgt. Thurman was known throughout the department and the community as one who always put others before self,” the department said.

“This has been an extremely difficult few weeks for the men and women of the Aurora Police Department,” Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross said in a statement. “Our entire department is mourning; please keep our APD family in your thoughts and prayers.”

It’s not clear if the officers were vaccinated.

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