A Broward County sheriff’s deputy has become the seventh person in the agency to die of complications from the coronavirus.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page that 48-year-old Sgt. Shane Owens died on Saturday. He worked for about 30 years with the agency’s detention department.
He had been hospitalized and on a ventilator prior to his death, the sheriff’s office said.
The SunSentinel reported that Owens’ father, David Owens, also worked for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, serving for 34 years in the Department of Detention and retiring in 2019.
“Shane was a no nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is supervisor who held people accountable. But more importantly, he taught them how to be the best they could be,” Lt. Col. Tim Langelier, the director of the Department of Detention’s Operations and Administration said in a written statement. “If BSO had a Hall of Fame, Sgt. Shane Owens would be in it.”
Previous deaths in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office inspired Democratic Sen. Lauren Book‘s SB 1232, Her bill would require agencies to pay the entire premium of the employer’s health insurance plan for surviving dependents if a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or a correctional probation officer was exposed in the line of duty to, and died from, a pandemic disease or to an infectious disease which was the subject of a declared public health emergency.
Last week SB 1232 was unanimously approved by the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee.
At that time, Book said there were at least 14 law enforcement officers statewide who had died of COVID-19.
“You said there were 14 cases. We’re lucky it’s not more than 14, I can tell you right now, with this pandemic, and the work that law enforcement does in the state of Florida, in all capacities, we have to recognize who pays in the end,” said Democratic Sen. Victor Torres of Orlando, a member of the committee. “The families. The children. The wives. The parents. Their loved ones are gone. You put your life on the line, whether it’s taken by somebody shooting at you, or in this case pandemic.”