COVID-19 prompts new funeral protocol for Chicago officer who died from virus

A funeral for the first Chicago Police officer to die from complications of the coronavirus on Thursday looked unlike any funeral for a city officer in memory.

To protect Marco DiFranco’s fellow officers and other mourners from the virus that causes COVID-19, there was no crowded church, no streets lined with officers and respectful onlookers and no packed cemetery — a show of respect that has for generations comforted the families of fallen officers.

For DiFranco, whose death was determined to be in the line-of-duty by Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck, there was instead a private service at a funeral home attended only by family. Then, the funeral procession took the officer’s remains to All Saints Catholic Cemetery in Des Plaines.

People who did stand along the route to pay their respects wore protective masks, as did the few uniformed police officers who stood at attention just outside the cemetery gates as the procession drove to the cemetery.

Dozens of squad cars from several law enforcement agencies lined the street outside the funeral home and escorted the hearse to the cemetery, but the officers driving the vehicles did not get out and did not drive into the cemetery.

The department’s mounted unit escorted the casket from the hearse to the grave site for a service attended only by the family and the department’s command staff.

The 50-year-old DiFranco, a decorated undercover narcotics officer died last week. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Officer Marco Di Franco (Chicago Police)