HPD Senior Police Officer John Wilbanks passes away after battle with COVID-19

Senior Officer John Wilbanks (Photo: Houston Police Department)

Houston Senior Police Officer John Wilbanks passed away after a battle with COVID-19, Chief Troy Finner said Wednesday.

In a statement, the police chief said Senior Police Officer Wilbanks, 53, had been fighting COVID-19 for some time and passed away on Wednesday.


Senior Police Officer Wilbanks has been an officer with the Houston Police Department since June 1994.

He was most recently assigned to the Special Operations Division, but over his career has worked in the Southeast, Southwest, Clear Lake, Traffic Enforcement, Vehicular Crimes, Tactical Operations and Air & Marine Divisions.

"All of HPD mourns the loss of Officer Wilbanks and we ask the entire city of Houston to join us in lifting his family in prayer. Today, we lost a man who is the epitome of what it is to be a public servant," Chief Finner said in a statement on Wednesday.

There will be no public visitation for Senior Police Officer Wilbanks. The funeral service will take place on Monday, October 18, at 10 a.m. at Grace Church Houston at 14505 Gulf Freeway. 

Due to COVID-19 protocols, seating is limited. Family, friends, HPD staff, and those who knew Senior Police Officer Wilbanks will be seated first.

Members of the public who wish to honor Senior Police Officer Wilbanks are encouraged to watch a live stream of the service and rending of honors on the police department's social media platforms.

There are no burial services currently planned, although they will likely remain private.

Chief Finner says Senior Police Office Wilbanks is HPD’s second line of duty death due to COVID-19. Senior Police Officer Ernest Leal, 60, passed away last November after battling COVID-19.

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