A Chicago police sergeant who died after contracting COVID-19 is being remembered as a family man and a highly decorated detective who grew up in Chicago and ultimately served the community that he loved.
Sergeant Clifford Martin became the second Chicago police officer to pass away after contracting the virus on Friday, officials said. A 25-year veteran of the force, Martin received more than 60 awards from the department during his distinguished career.
“Sgt. Martin was a Chicagoan through and through, and served the community that he loved,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “Our hearts go out to Martin’s wife and three children, who are grieving an unimaginable loss of a husband and father taken from them so suddenly by this terrible disease.”
Martin leaves behind a wife and three children, two of whom followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the Chicago Police Department.
Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck praised Martin as a man who “truly epitomized what is great about Chicago and its police department,” saying that the detective trained dozens of others during his career.
“The tragedies pile up upon each other, and they make our hearts heavy, but the men and women of the CPD go out every day,” he said. “They can’t stay at home and they can’t shelter in place, but they do their jobs and they do them well.”
Beck said he spoke to Martin in the hospital after his diagnosis.
“His first words were that he was concerned for his family, and he told me how badly he wanted to come back to work,” he said. “What a tremendous heart, and what a terrific loss not just for his family, but for Chicago.”
Lightfoot said that she spoke to Martin’s wife, who said that her husband would have wanted his death to serve as a reminder to take the virus seriously.
“Stay home and save lives. Don’t make their sacrifices in vain,” Lightfoot said. “This disease is real and it is deadly, and when you gather, you are not only putting yourselves at risk, but you’re putting our officers at risk as well.”
In all, 170 members of the Chicago Police Department have tested positive for COVID-19, including 163 sworn officers. Martin is the second officer to pass away after contracting the disease. Narcotics officer Marco DiFranco died last week due to complications of the virus.