Kent County deputy dies from COVID-19 complications

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kent County sheriff’s deputy died Monday from complications with COVID-19.

David Cook was a patrol deputy who served 21 years with the department. The sheriff’s department said he received a number of commendations.

“We are deeply saddened by Dave’s loss,” Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said in a Tuesday statement. “His service to our community and presence as a partner and friend have been felt by all here ta KCSO. Dave’s legacy will be defined by the kindness with which he served.”

She even read a thank you note Cook had received from someone he arrested for drunken driving who has since become sober.

Deputy Tim Erhardt was Cook’s most recent partner. He said Cook was a training officer and a great investigator who was dedicated to his career.

“He never called in sick. Never shook the call. He would show up as a second, third or fourth officer on the scene of a big call and he would just attack it. He would go in and start interviewing people doing what he needed to do to make our jobs easier,” Erhardt said.

Cook leaves behind two daughters and a wife.

On Monday night, a police procession accompanied Cook’s body from Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids to a funeral home in Rockford. Firefighters from Plainfield Township, Sparta and Alpine Township gathered on the Post Drive overpass over US-131 to fly an American flag in his honor.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, COVID-19 has been the leading cause of death for officers nationwide in both 2020 and 2021 — more than shootings and traffic incidents combined.

The sheriff could not comment on the Cook’s vaccination status or medical history, citing privacy reasons, but acknowledged the risks first responders take every day.

“We definitely work very hard to make sure they’ve got the equipment to protect them reasonably and that they’ve got the orientation and information to know how to keep themselves safe, but there absolutely is not any piece of protection that I can give them that is foolproof. I can’t give them any advice that’s absolute because it’s just one of those industries that there is an inherent risk,” LaJoye-Young said.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

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