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 deepest condolences & prayers are extended to the family of Sgt. Derrick Leto as well as to his extended family @WorcesterPD and @TweetWorcester. We are heartbroken by the news of his passing. pic.twitter.com/34lM8AdO7c
— Jose A. Rivera (@votejoserivera) March 17, 2023
Worcester Police morn the loss of Sgt Derrick Leto who passed away at home yesterday. His loss leaves a big hole in the dept and community. These are a few images I was able to capture of him. @WorcesterPD @telegramdotcom @mikesacconetv #worcester #worcesterpolice #rip pic.twitter.com/rrkN4TTQmd
— Paul (@pauls612) March 18, 2023
Few images from the transfer of Worcester Police Sergeant Derrick Leto to the Callahan Fay Funeral home.
Arrangements are not available yet
Please hold Sergeant Leto's family and the Worcester Police Department in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/hVeLR8UDP6
— Paul (@pauls612) March 18, 2023
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.