AUSTIN (KXAN) — Family, friends and colleagues of an Austin police officer who died of COVID-19 gathered Thursday for a funeral service to honor his life and remember his service.
Sgt. Steve Urias died from the disease Aug. 26, and when the department announced his death, it was the second COVID-19 death in as many days within APD. Urias served 32 years with APD, graduating from the department’s academy in 1989.
Urias patrolled in both northwest and east Austin during his time with the department. He also worked in the arrest review and parks divisions.
Interim APD Chief Joseph Chacon was one of the people who spoke during the service, and the message he delivered was one of sacrifice. Chacon told a story about how Urias, a senior officer, gave up preferential treatment to let officers with small children get their chosen shifts.
Chacon explained when Urias was reassigned to street patrol from his parks patrol unit, he had a chance to ask his lieutenant for a preferred area of patrol, substation and shift. Time went on and the deadline to give his preference was closing in, so the lieutenant asked Urias why he hadn’t turned in his preferences.
Chacon said that Urias told his lieutenant that since he was near the end of his career and didn’t have small children anymore, he wanted the younger sergeants who had kids to take care of to have their preferences prioritized. Urias said he’d work wherever he was needed.
“He essentially said he’d take whatever was left over and didn’t intend to put in a preference sheet,” Chacon said. “He cared so much for his fellow sergeants that he wanted to make sure they had first shots at those spots. That was one heck of a sacrifice.”
Through tears, Urias’ son Josh said his father’s heart “left a legacy.”
“My dad treated every day as a blessing,” he said. “I can speak for all of us here and say we’re all blessed to have had him in our lives.”
Austin Cops 4 Charities is accepting donations for Urias’ family.