COVID-19 and its impact on the law enforcement community

Detroit police car
Posted at 7:17 AM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 07:17:23-05

(WSYM) — It's a new year but for the men and women who put on the blue uniform, challenges remain. They're facing rising crime, civil unrest and a COVID war that continues to brew despite vaccines at the ready.

So in tonight's Rebound Detroit report, we take a look at how this deadly virus is affecting those who pledge to protect and serve.

Men and women in blue were hoping to turn the page on a new chapter this year, but the insurrection at the nation's capitol and the civil unrest from the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor continue to shine the light on a nation divided and peace disrupted.

Stir in the pandemic and it's an ongoing war like no other.

In the spring of 2020 the Detroit Police Department dealing with local protests had the 3rd highest number of COVID cases in the US.

"When you think about COVID and what this department went through at one point we had as many as 650 members of our organization quarantined," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. "That was during a time when I was battling COVID."

Two from DPD died from COVID. Chief Craig fought his way through it and out of the hospital and is working out daily. Although he says he still has periodic problems like chest pains.

"So it's a real concern but all in all I still push through," Craig said.

His childhood friend and mentor Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon was not so fortunate.

"I would have never imagined that he would have passed especially given his background," Craig said about the late Napoleon. "He was a former SWAT officer and that really rocked our department."

Sherriff Napoleon's brother, Highland Park Police Chief Hilton Napoleon, beat the disease and so did Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.

"Even when I'm dealing with a very tragic situation, even if it includes a very tragic death of a police officer, people look to me for strength, stability," Craig said. "I'm human. It doesn't mean I don't feel the pain."