‘Officers are scared’: How COVID-19 is affecting cops around US

The coronavirus pandemic has tested the strength of all Americans. From doctors and nurses on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 to parents juggling work and their children, there’s no normal right now and that lack of control can be challenging to grasp.

For police forces around the country, they, too, are facing unprecedented challenges.

“I don’t think it’s too far to say that officers are scared out there,” Sgt. Manny Ramirez, president of Fort Worth Police Officers Association, told the Associated Press.

The AP reported how the coronavirus is affecting police forces around the country, with many police departments being exposed to COVID-19, leaving some feeling helpless. According to data compiled in the report, nearly 690 police officers and civilian employees at departments and offices have tested positive for the coronavirus and many are currently in isolation as they await test results.

At the time of publication, which was March 28, NYPD had 512 positive cases of COVID-19, the most cases by a long shot in the country. Three members of the NYPD have died due to the infection as of Sunday, according to CNN.

Below is a breakdown with the most affected police departments and dates when the numbers were reported in AP’s report:

  • New York City Police Department – 512 (3/27)
  • Detroit – 39 (3/26)
  • Nassau County (New York Police Department) – 33 (3/25)
  • Chicago – 19 (3/27)
  • Los Angeles Police Department – 15 (3/26)
  • Suffolk Country (New York Police Department) – 12 (3/25)
  • Boston – 8 (3/26)
  • Harris County, Texas Sheriff’s Office – 5 (3/26)
  • New Orleans – 5 (3/27)
  • Connecticut State Police – 4 (3/26)

Like trends around the country, confirmed cases with police officers won’t quiet soon.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday that he expected the number of confirmed NYPD COVID-19 cases to reach around 900 by Monday morning, the New York Post reported.

“We know that those numbers are going to continually grow,” Shea said. “We’re looking at both sides of the spectrum, quite frankly: what is the current sick rate as officers are still becoming infected? And when is that beginning to plateau?”

It remains unclear how long officers were told to stay home after potentially being exposed to COVID-19, according to the report.

With social distancing and shelter-in-place in effect, there’s been some good news – crime numbers around the city have plummeted.

The NYPD released data for March 16 to March 22, which represents the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown in New York City. Citywide crime decreased by nearly 17% compared to the same week last year.