Keeping the Blue safe: NYPD gets $500K in material to protect cops from coronavirus

A NYPD Detective investgates a shooting on Rutlans Road and East 95 Street. on Sunday, March 29th.
A NYPD Detective, clad in a mask and wearing gloves, investigates a shooting on Rutland Road and East 95 Street in Brooklyn on March 29, 2020. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

With thousands of NYPD officers out sick while battling coronavirus, the department is getting additional resources to help protect its active officers from becoming infected while on duty.

The NYPD announced Tuesday the acquisition of $500,000 in protective material — including 150,000 masks, 150,000 pairs of gloves and 150,000 hand sanitizer packets. The items will be distributed to officers in the field as they patrol the streets during the epidemic.

The New York City Police Foundation, the official nonprofit organization supporting the city’s Finest, purchased the equipment from Massachusetts-based firm Winbrook thanks to donations from the public. The items will be shipped to New York City in the days ahead.

Additionally, the New York City Police Foundation — which has been working to secure additional supplies for NYPD officers — also secured a donation of additional masks from electronics and entertainment giant Sony.

“This equipment will help keep our officers physically safe. But beyond that, it sends them a clear message – that their unwavering commitment to protecting people is deeply appreciated,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “Amid all the challenges of this crisis, I’m struck by all the ways it has brought out the best in New Yorkers. On behalf of the entire NYPD family and the city we serve, thank you for the generous gift to the men and women in uniform.”

All of the supplies will be brought to the NYPD Quartermaster Division, which is responsible for distributing material and supplies to all precincts across the city. The unit has been working nonstop since the coronavirus epidemic began in New York City, distributing over 260,000 pairs of gloves, 500,000 masks, more than 150,000 disinfecting wipes and nearly 68,000 hand sanitizer bottles to date.

“When things are at their toughest, New Yorkers always step up to the challenge,” added Andrew Tisch, chairman of the board of the Police Foundation. “It’s amazing to see the tremendous outpouring across New York City and beyond to help protect our officers on the front lines.”

The Police Foundation continues to raise funds and seek donations to support the men and women in blue. For more information or to make a donation, visit nycpolicefoundation.org/donate.

“Despite these unprecedented times, the men and women of the Department will continue to answer the call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Susan Birnbaum, president and CEO of the Police Foundation. “The NYPD’s commitment to the city and its residents is unwavering and it’s essential we support them.”

On March 30, the NYPD reported that 5,199 uniformed members — representing 14.4% of the entire force — were on sick report due to the coronavirus. To date, 824 officers and officials, along with 106 civilian members, have contracted the infection. 

So far, five members of the NYPD — including a Bronx detective — have died of the illness.