Funeral for Aurora police officer who died of COVID: 'He wasn't just a badge or a uniform'

Shields is the first active duty Aurora police officer to die from COVID
OSWEGO, Ill. (WLS) -- The Aurora police department said a tearful goodbye to one of their own.

A funeral was held Tuesday for Officer Brian Shields at Harvest New Beginnings Church in Oswego. Shields died last week from COVID-19 complications.

RELATED: Aurora police officer dies of COVID-19 complications; remembered as 'devoted father, husband'

"Often when people die, you hear what other folks say, what a great person they were," said Sgt. Scott Carter at the service.

Carter was overwhelmed with emotion as he spoke about his friend and fellow officer. Once composed, he respectfully and lovingly remembered the 51-year-old husband and doting father.

"Brian was a great man. He was a family man. He was a Christian man. He was a loving husband and father," said Shields.

During his funeral the beloved officer was remembered as a public servant, truly dedicated to both his community and his family.

The department said Officer Shields is the first active duty Aurora police officer to die from COVID.

Police officials would not say if the 16-year veteran was vaccinated against COVID-19, citing employee privacy. But the aurora police department said its officers are required to either provide proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing under city policy.

"When we were out on the streets, it was like having another chaplain with us," said Pastor Ed Doepel, Aurora Police Department chaplain.

Before becoming a police officer Shields was a newspaper reporter for over a decade, working for the Aurora Beacon News. He covered the police beat. It's then that the University of Illinois graduate found his true calling.

"He wasn't just a badge or a uniform, he was someone who really cared about the community," said Rev Dan Haas, Aurora Community Church.

After working with some smaller police departments, Shields joined the Aurora Police Department in 2004 at the age of 35.

Those who knew and loved Shields said his memory and the lives he impacted will never be forgotten.
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