Chief of Police Richard Leslie Stephens

Union City Police Department, Oklahoma
End of Watch Friday, February 4, 2022

Chief of Police Richard Stephens died as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

Chief Stephens had served with the Union City Police Department for 25 years. He is survived by his wife, three children, and three grandchildren. His son is a Police Chief in Oklahoma.

The Effects of COVID on Law Enforcement

Beginning in early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country began to contract COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic. Due to the nature of their job, law enforcement officers were required to work and interact with the community even as the majority of the country was self-quarantined. As a result, hundreds of officers died from COVID-related illnesses and other complications.

Corrections agencies, in particular, suffered tremendous losses due to the constant and close proximity between the corrections officers and large inmate populations. Since March 2020, ODMP has verified that over 900 law enforcement officers have died as the result of a confirmed or presumed exposure while on duty and continues to work with hundreds of other agencies that have suffered a COVID-related death.

Source: ODMP

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