Officer Down: 22-year police veteran unexpectedly passes away while inside police department

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – A Chester Police Department officer passed away on March 21st, suffering from what was only described as a medical emergency.

Officer Bronelle Barrett-Lee of the CPD, who was noted as a 22-year veteran of the department, was inside the department’s Operations Center when she’d passed.

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland stated the following regarding the death of Officer Barret-Lee:

“On behalf of myself, the rest of Chester City Council, and the entire city of Chester, I offer my deepest, most heartfelt condolences to those who loved and personally knew Officer Lee.”

Flags are being flown at half-staff throughout the city of Chester starting on March 23rd, until her funeral is held.  

Mayor Kirkland also added:

“I am filled with sadness to know that this community has lost one of its protectors. This city joins the Chester Police Department in mourning the loss of Officer Lee. At this time, I ask that we all keep her children, family and friends in prayer.”

The mayor explained that officials are waiting for information from the medical examiner to determine what the cause of death was.

All that was listed was that paramedics were called at around 7:16 a.m. on the morning of her passing, noting that she was unresponsive:

“We are awaiting further confirmation from the Medical Examiner’s office. She was on duty and was asked if she wanted to do a double shift. It’s a painful situation.

The fact that when you lose one of your brother/sister comrades, it’s painful. The other stuff is out the window.”

Of those mentioning the grievous loss for the department was Police Commissioner Otis Blair, who stated the following:

“An outstanding officer, a work-a-holic, [she’d] give you the shirt off her back if that’s what it took, fed you if it was necessary. Of the highest honors.

Our condolences go out to our family, her loved ones. She would want us to keep moving forward. We still have a job to do. Pray for her family, that’s all I can ask.”

Officers from numerous departments within Delaware County accompanied the body of Officer Barrett-Lee in a show of gratitude as she was transported from the Crozer-Chester Medical Center to the Medical Examiner’s officer at the Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Middletown.

Various locals and other first responders witnessed the procession, where then 50 officers stood at attention as Officer Barret-Lee’s body was removed from the ambulance and into the ME’s office.

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

Officer Barret-Lee is survived by her four children.

To those who fondly remember Officer Barret-Lee, as well as her family and loved ones, we at Law Enforcement Today extends our prayers for solace and healing in these trying times. Over two decades in law enforcement is no small feat, and for that, we’re grateful for her service to the community.

Sadly, in Springfield, Ohio, we lost a young officer who was trying to end a vehicular pursuit on March 21st. 

Officer Kaia Grant was only 33-years-old when police say that she was murdered due to a fleeing suspect, Terry Blankenship, who was wanted for a felony burglary warrant at the time. 

Officer Grant served with the Springdale Police Department for eight years before she died as a result of the suspect’s vehicle crashing into her parked cruiser while Officer Grant and a Sergeant were attempting to deploy “stop sticks” to end the police chase. 

Police say the driver intentionally swerved toward them, hitting them both.

Officer Grant was flown to a local hospital. She did not survive.

The sergeant suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Darby Lyons, who was the former English teacher of Officer Grant in her 2003-2004 high school years, stated the following about her: 

“[She was] the kind of person you would want as a police officer. Someone who isn’t quick to anger. She was tough, but she also had a big heart.”

Former Hamilton County Municipal Judge Fanon Rucker, who knew the officer quite well, described the loss as “crushing”: 

“I know she’s a rarity as a female officer and particularly a black female officer in one of our suburban municipalities. All around it’s a tragedy.”

Cam Hardy, who serves as the president of the Better Bus Coalition, noted that Officer Grant had aspirations to eventually become involved in politics. Her enthusiasm also invigorated Hardy to become locally involved as well: 

“She was always a leader. She was very calm and collected at all times. Respectful but passionate…She will truly be missed. Her activism and pride for the community she served will live through me and others every single day.”

The suspect involved, Blankenship, was transported to the hospital after suffering injuries from colliding with the fallen officer’s vehicle. He has since been taken into police custody. 

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