New Orleans, LA – The son of a veteran New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officer who died from COVID-19 was pinned with his father’s badge at his own police academy graduation on Wednesday.
NOPD Officer Mark Hall Sr., 53, served NOPD for over 30 years prior to succumbing to the novel coronavirus on April 30, the department said in a press release.
His son, a member of the NOPD Recruit Class #188, was slated to graduate from the Training Academy the following day, according to a post on the NOPD Facebook page.
“Just one day before the private ceremony – held privately and in line with COVID-19 restrictions – [Recruit Mark Hall Jr.] suddenly and tragically lost his father to that same virus,” the department wrote. “His father was veteran NOPD Officer Mark Hall Sr., who passed away less than a month after contracting the deadly disease.”
Although the younger Hall’s final exam and graduation were “put on hold” in the wake of his father’s death, he remained “undeterred” in his goal of becoming a NOPD officer, the post read.
On Wednesday, NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson administered the oath of office to the new officer.
During the ceremony, Officer Hall Jr. “received something even more special – his father’s badge,” the NOPD said.
Badge #1786 – the badge his father wore for more than three decades – now belongs to him.
Officer Hall Jr.’s mother pinned the badge to her son’s chest, and he will now “continue the family legacy of service to the citizens and visitors of New Orleans,” the department said.
Officer Hall Jr. is now moving into the field training portion of his new career.
“We congratulate [Officer Hall Jr.] and the rest of Class 188 as they move forward in their careers in law enforcement,” the NOPD said.