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Denver Sheriff Deputy Daniel Trujillo passed away on Wednesday evening due to complications from COVID-19.
- A Denver Sheriff's deputy has died from COVID. Daniel Trujillo passed away just a few days after starting to feel ill. He is the second Denver deputy in 11 days to die from the virus. CBS 4's Michael Abeyta better live at the Downtown detention center, where deputies Trujillo and James Herrera both worked. Michael, what have you learned about these men?
MICHAEL ABEYTA: Well Jim, their friends say that they were good, hard work, hard working men who just wanted to provide for their families. They were dedicated to their jobs and the department, and now they want to make sure their families are taken care of in their deaths.
MICHAEL JACKSON: And it's been extremely difficult --
MICHAEL ABEYTA: Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2007 president Michael Jackson says, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Denver Sheriff's deputies especially hard.
MICHAEL JACKSON: We've had over half our deputies come down with COVID.
MICHAEL ABEYTA: He [? surmises ?] it's because they work in enclosed quarters with a large cross-section of the population. And he says, they're short staffed.
MICHAEL JACKSON: Instead of eight or 10 hour days, we're working 14 or 16 hour days.
MICHAEL ABEYTA: He knew deputies James Herrera and Daniel [? Duke ?] Trujillo personally.
MICHAEL JACKSON: They're good deputies, you know, outspoken deputies, just really committed to working for the city.
MICHAEL ABEYTA: He says their deaths have shaken their fellow deputies.
MICHAEL JACKSON: This one has hit people very hard because you see one person. I mean, Trujillo was at our meeting last week. It was fine, no problem.
MICHAEL ABEYTA: A Facebook page, which a high school friend confirmed belonged to Deputy Trujillo, shared pictures and a video suggesting he was hesitant to get the COVID vaccine, but Jackson says he never heard that from him and most of the deputies in their union are vaccinated.
MICHAEL JACKSON: It's unfortunate that he felt that way, but that's not the typical for all deputy sheriffs. We all know that this pandemic is real, and it's affecting us and it did affect us.
MICHAEL ABEYTA: With the pandemic still making his union members sick as they work in Denver's jails, he says he's working to make sure the deputies deaths are considered line of duty deaths by the city. So their families can be taken care of.
MICHAEL JACKSON: We've been working in the facilities with COVID the whole time.
MICHAEL ABEYTA: Now the deputies vaccination statuses are unknown, but the department did tell us whether a person is vaccinated is a personal medical question and they do not ask employees if they've received the COVID-19 vaccination. And they offered education about the vaccine, and every inmate is offered the vaccination as well. In Denver, Michael Abeyta covering Colorado first.