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Hero Down: Worcester Police Department Sergeant Derrick Leto Dies Unexpectedly

Worcester, MA – Worcester Police Department (WPD) Sergeant Derrick Leto died unexpectedly while off duty on March 17.

The WPD confirmed the 42-year-old sergeant’s tragic death in a press release the following day.

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Worcester Police Sergeant Derrick Leto,” the WPD said. “We ask you to please keep Sgt. Leto’s wife and two children in your thoughts and prayers along with his City family.”

Sgt. Leto’s exact cause of death was not immediately released.

He served in the U.S. Marines prior to joining the WPD 18 years ago.

“He often spoke about his journey to become a police officer at a variety of schools, churches, colleges and institutions,” the WPD said. “Sgt. Leto inspired everyone from strangers he did not know to our brothers and sisters here at the Worcester Police Department.”

Sgt. Leto was serving as the agency’s diversity officer at the time of his death.

“In this role he [led] our Recruiting Team and worked hard to strengthen our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” the WPD said.

“This past year alone, Sgt. Leto successfully started the department’s first Cadet Program and Explorer’s Program,” the department noted. “These two programs aim to recruit candidates from underrepresented communities, including people of color and women.”

The MPD said Sgt. Leto served as a role model “for countless young people in the community” and that he left a lasting impact on both the department and the neighborhoods in which he worked.

“Sgt. Leto had a passion for providing youth with opportunities,” WPD Chief Steven Sargent said in the press release. “He made a difference in our department, City and community and worked hard to make our visions a reality.”

“Sgt. Leto made great strides in creating unity among the police and community groups and partners. I will be forever grateful for his service to the citizens of Worcester who he deeply cared about,” Chief Sargent added. “He will be dearly missed… we are heartbroken.”

Sgt. Leto leaves behind his wife, Nichole, and his children, Mickey and Damon, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his sister, in-laws, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Sgt. Leto will be laid to rest on March 24.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Worcester Police Department Sergeant Derrick Leto, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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