EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that the death of Deputy Jeff Hopkins will be considered line-of-duty.
Hopkins, 41, died from the virus earlier this month.
The sheriff’s office initially did not say whether Hopkins’ death would be considered line-of-duty.
A number of benefits for a fallen law enforcement officer’s family, including the U.S. Department of Justice Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, require a line-of-duty designation.
According to the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Bill Elder was told Tuesday morning that El Paso County Public Health had concluded its investigation into Hopkins’ death.
Health officials determined it is “more likely than not” that Hopkins was exposed to the virus while working as an intake and release deputy at the Criminal Justice Center.
“Investigation did not identify a reasonable or known alternative contact as the source of his infection. The medical time-line based on known coinciding shift(s) of COVID-19 positive deputy(s) as well as the onset and progression of Deputy Hopkins’s symptoms is entirely consistent with him obtaining the exposure and consequent infection while performing his official duties. Death investigation by the El Paso County Coroner did not identify any potential alternate cause(s) of death,” public health officials said.
The sheriff’s office plans to provide a full police honors service for Hopkins once it is safe to do so.
Hopkins had worked for the sheriff’s office since 2001.
Those hoping to make a donation to benefit his family can visit the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Foundation’s website.