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Navajo Nation police force loses first officer to COVID-19

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 21:23:05-04

CHINLE, Ariz. (AP) — A 50-year-old Navajo Nation police officer has died at a Phoenix hospital, becoming the first officer on the tribal police force to die from COVID-19 in the line of duty.

Police Department officials said Officer Michael Lee died Friday at Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix. Police Chief Phillip Francisco said the department was "``devastated and heartbroken" by the death of Lee, whom Francisco called ``"a husband, a father, a son and a protector of his community."

Lee served 29 years with the tribal department, beginning his law enforcement career as a police recruit with the Navajo Police Academy in 1990.

The department said survivors include Lee's wife and children.