New Bedford officer dies after ‘a valiant battle with COVID-19’

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) ─ A New Bedford officer passed away Wednesday following, “a valiant battle with COVID-19,” according to Acting Police Chief Paul Oliveira.

Sgt. Mike Cassidy was a 27-year veteran of the force. Prior to joining the New Bedford Police Department, Cassidy served in the U.S. Marines during Operation Desert Storm.

“This is a tremendous loss to our department and to the city, as we all know Sgt. Cassidy was a proud officer who served the people of this city with his whole heart,” Oliveira said. “Sgt. Cassidy loved being a police officer and went above and beyond to impact the lives of others in a positive way.”

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell ordered flags to fly at half staff in honor of Cassidy.

“Mike was an exemplary, respected and well-liked officer, and someone I called a friend,” Mitchell said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Debbie and his family.”

Lt. Scott Cabral said Cassidy was dedicated to the job and could light up a room.

“Mike’s presence was always known and he was a very active member of this family,” Cabral said. “He was always there when you needed him.”

Stacy-Jo Romanski is living proof of that.

In August 2018, Cassidy was shopping in a local Market Basket when Romanski, an employee at the grocery store, suffered a medical emergency and became unresponsive.

When Cassidy, a CPR instructor, realized Romanski didn’t have a pulse, he sprung into action and ultimately saved her life.

“If it wasn’t for him, I would have died,” she said. “He’s my angel in heaven, my hero.”

Along with several other accolades over the course of his career, Cassidy received two New Bedford Life Saving Awards, one of which he earned when he saved Romanski.

She said the two stayed in touch over the years, and ultimately became good friends.

“My heart is broken. He saves peoples lives and now his is gone,” she said. “I just hope that everybody keeps him in their hearts forever because he was that kind of person.”

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