In Memory of Sergeant Gilbert Polanco

In Memory of Sergeant Gilbert Polanco

San Quentin Sergeant Dies from COVID

California authorities were saddened to announce the loss of a veteran officer of San Quentin to the coronavirus. Sergeant Gilbert Polanco, age 55, died on Sunday, August 9, 2020. It is presumed that he came into contact with the virus while on the job working to secure San Quentin Penitentiary during a coronavirus outbreak.

Sgt. Polanco had served his community for many years through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He worked as a corrections officer for more than 34 years. Before becoming an officer in California, Polanco served his community with the US Army. He was a well-liked and respected veteran among his coworkers, neighbors, and even the inmates at San Quentin.

Sgt. Polanco was the ninth employee of the California corrections system to have died from COVID. The outbreak in San Quentin alone has caused 24 inmates to lose their lives, and more than 2000 have become sick from the virus.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Headquartered in Sacramento, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the state agency responsible for the maintenance and management of prison systems in California as well as all supervisory releases through its parole system. The CDCR is the third-largest law enforcement agency in the US. The agency is one of California’s most prominent employers, with more than 66,000 federal officers and 4200 sworn police officers. Historically, the CDCR began as early as 1851, when California opened its first state-run institution. Sergeant Gilbert Polanco had worked for the department since the age of 21, and his most recent assignment was at the San Quentin prison.

Family Broken by COVID

The impact is breaking families across the globe. Sgt. Gilbert Polanco leaves behind his wife, son, and daughter. The community, coworkers, family, friends, and neighbors have come together to celebrate his life and to support those he left behind. His son, Vincent, is currently following his father’s footsteps and serving in the US Army.

Daughter, Selena Polanco, commented about all that she had received from her father. “Everything I have is because of him, all the positivity he brought, all the hard work he’s done. I know San Quentin was being more reactive than proactive. I hope they can get stuff together to properly handle this.”

CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz commented on the loss of an officer. “Sergeant Gilbert Polanco is an example of the best of CDCR, and his passing deeply saddens us all. His dedication to public service will not be forgotten. On behalf of a grateful department we extend our prayers of comfort and condolences to the Polanco family during these difficult times.”

Acting Warden Ron Broomfield was at a loss, as Sgt. Polanco was a dear friend of his. “Our hearts are broken as we awaken to the news of the passing of our beloved Sergeant, colleague, and friend. Sgt. Gilbert Polanco demonstrated unwavering commitment and bravery as a peace officer working the frontline every day during this devastating pandemic. His memory is carried on in the hearts of all the men and women who continue to battle this deadly virus at San Quentin. We mourn together with his family and pray for their peace and comfort in the midst of their immeasurable loss.”