So far, five members of the NYPD have died due to coronavirus-related complications.
“It’s been, clearly, a difficult time for New York City as a whole. The message to to all New Yorkers is that we’re all in this together. Certainly the NYPD is part of that,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday. “It’s all of us pulling together, holding it together if you will, and doing the best we can to get out of this as soon as possible.”
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Shea said the NYPD was in a “constant state of planning” and contemplating 12 hour shifts.
“The message to New Yorkers is we are scrambling, but that shouldn’t have a negative connotation. We are able to handle many, many different tasks here. We’re still fighting crime. There’s still great work taking place on those that unfortunately still do commit crime,” Shea said. “Heard a lot over the past few days, people surprised how many cops they see on corners, in cars, making people feel safe. We’re continuing to do all of that.”
Shea said he’s “eagerly awaiting” the inversion point, when the number of people calling out sick decreases.
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“The motto and the mantra here is ‘next woman, next man up.’ People are coming back. We’ve had people return, and that number is growing by the day, people returning from positive Covid tests, back to work to help their brothers and sisters on the front line. And we are going to hold that line,” Shea said.
Shea said there are no plans at the moment to request help from the state police to shore up the NYPD, though the two groups already work very closely.
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“Right now, we’re in good shape in New York City. But the bottom line is anyone that can help will be asked upon to help if needed to keep people safe,” Shea said.
Shea said it is “not unreasonable” to discuss hazard pay or a stimulus bill specifically for first responders.
“I think though the first and primary thing we should be worried about right now though is being there, being there for all New Yorkers. The message to the whole country is, unfortunately, get ready. Be prepared for this. Start taking steps now to hopefully put yourself in a good position, people working from home, et cetera,” Shea said. “And I think that we worry about hazard pay and things like that down the road.”