NYPD union backs off plan to let sick officers work from home amid coronavirus
Hours after penning a memo Saturday that said NYPD officers with underlying conditions would be able to work from home, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association reversed course and fired off another directive that stated the memo was “written in haste and contained an error.”
“The email we recently sent out regarding members with preexisting medical conditions, that could be substantially aggravated if the person contracts the COVID-19 virus, potentially being permitted to work from home was written in haste and contained an error,” LBA President Lou Turco wrote.
The union’s initial email was sent out hours after Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced that Detective Cedric Dixon, a 48-year-old veteran of 32nd Precinct in Harlem, had died of complications from the virus, making him the first police officer to die in the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 virus has been shown to have a disparate impact on the health of those who contract the virus and have underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease,” the initial LBA memo reads. “As a result, the Department has directed that all members of the service with these underlying medical conditions be permitted to work from home until such time as the crisis subsides.”
After the LBA’s initial memo, the NYPD denied that the work from home order was in place— but said they were “developing” new rules.
“The NYPD has not established a work from home policy at this time. We are developing a policy. And we have a process to request ‘reasonable accommodation’ for a variety of conditions,” a spokesperson said.
Dixon’s death marked the third NYPD employee to die after contracting the virus, following an administrative aide in the Bronx and a cleaner at 1 Police Plaza, who both succumbed Thursday.
More than 500 NYPD first responders have now tested positive for the virus, with more than 11% of New York’s Finest calling in sick — nearly four times the usual number, officials said.
On Saturday, over 50 cops were out sick in the 46th Precinct alone, law enforcement sources said.
“For first responders, you just don’t often have the opportunity to isolate. You go to the danger,” Shea said at the press conference Saturday.
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