NYPD goes five straight days of sick reports dropping, but three more die of COVID-19

traffic safety
Police officers and detectives from the 77th Precinct discuss an alleged abduction at Atlantic Avenue and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, that turned out to be nothing more than a “missing later found.” Most wear PPE’s. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The number of NYPD members reporting sick dropped for the fifth straight day from 17.6% to 17.3% on Wednesday, yet three more members of the department died of COVID-19 — bringing the total to 27 since the pandemic began.

The NYPD announced the deaths of three members including Police Communications Technician Denise Prince, assigned to the Communications Section, who died on Tuesday, April 14, from complications related to the coronavirus.

Prince became a member of the NYPD on July 30, 1999. Detective Robert Cardona, assigned to the 13th Precinct Detective Squad, died on April 15 from complications related to the coronavirus.  Cardona became a member of the NYPD on July 2, 2001.

Traffic Enforcement Agent Carol Ryer, assigned to Bronx Traffic Enforcement, also died on April 15 from complications related to the coronavirus. Ryer became a member of the NYPD on Nov. 9, 1992.

As of Wednesday, 6,274 uniformed members of the NYPD were on sick report. That is down from a high of 19.8% this past week. Currently, 2,161 uniformed members and 588 civilian members are diagnosed with coronavirus. To date, 4,080 members of the NYPD have tested positive for coronavirus. As of today, Wednesday, April 15th, 1,306 members of the NYPD have returned to work full duty after recovering from a positive test for the coronavirus.

Currently, the department is encouraging social distancing among their officers, the use of PPE’s and are taking the temperature of every officer before they enter the precinct for the day.

In the midst of so many cops going out sick, the department still had to deal with four homicides in a 24-hour period, including one in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, in which a father was allegedly killed, mutilated and eaten by his son.

Commissioner Dermot Shea has expressed optimism that they may have turned a corner with the virus and more officers were returning to duty after recovering or were out of quarantine. However, he has expressed dismay that some of those he said were part of the “compassionate release” from Rikers Island, were again committing crimes, including bank robberies and intimidating witnesses. He did however applaud the courts for not releasing Christopher Ransom. Ransom is being held pending trial for an alleged string of robberies that culminated in the murder of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen last year.

Officers continued to visit restaurants, bars, supermarkets, salons, and public spaces to remind individuals of the ban on congregating in public spaces and to practice social distancing: Between 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 14, and 8 a.m., Wednesday, April 15, NYPD officers visited 2540 supermarkets and pharmacies of which 1547 were closed;  6397 bars and restaurants of which 5298 were closed; 1215 public places of which 880 were closed; 2720 personal care facilities of which 2712 were closed. There were no arrests or summonses issued in any of these visits.

The Police Benevolent Association and its President Patrick Lynch meanwhile applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo after he announced that the state would prioritize anti-body testing for police officers. In a statement, Lynch said:

”This is a smart move by Governor Cuomo that will ultimately help get our city and state back up and running. New York City police officers have been overlooked in this crisis because New Yorkers are used to seeing us everywhere. We are in the grocery stores, the subways, the hospitals and housing complexes, interacting with both the sick and the healthy. But that is precisely the reason we need more testing. We are a bell-weather: we live in the five boroughs and surrounding counties, and our work touches every aspect of society. Priority testing for police officers will provide important intelligence about how this virus has spread and who is still at risk.”

Police officers investigate a homicide scene in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn Wednesday. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)