NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – New Bedford Police Sgt. Mike Cassidy died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the department announced on Wednesday.

Men and women who worked alongside Cassidy say he served the community with heart. They say there was no better partner, teacher, or friend.

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“There’s a hole in our family tonight,” New Bedford Police Lt. Scott Carola said. “He’s just really going to be missed.”

Cassidy served in uniform patrol, narcotics, criminal investigations and firearms.

“Mike really devoted his life to the city of New Bedford,” his friend Joshua Gerard said. “The kids, the elderly. When you got out of the car with him, you were safer.”

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During nearly 30 years of police service, Sgt. Cassidy was honored with lifesaving awards by his city, the state and the country. He was a U.S. Marine, and a longtime volunteer, but his most cherished roles were husband and dad.

“Mike literally laid down his life working through this pandemic and I really hope the city of New Bedford takes care of him and takes care of his family and does the right thing,” Gerard said.

Black bunting now hangs in front of the mourning New Bedford Police Department.

“This is a tremendous loss to our department and to the City of New Bedford as we all know Sgt. Cassidy was a proud Officer who served the people of this city with his whole heart,” Acting Police Chief Paul Oliveira said. “Sgt. Cassidy loved being a Police Officer and went above and beyond to impact the lives of others in a positive way.”

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Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.

CBSBoston.com Staff