Philadelphia Police Officer Dies of Coronavirus, Others Infected

A supervisor in the department's traffic division died over the weekend, and sources say numerous other officers are also infected by the virus

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A police supervisor in the Philadelphia Police Department's traffic division died over the weekend after becoming infected by the coronavirus, city officials said Monday.

Lt. James Walker is the first known Philadelphia cop to succumb to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Mayor Jim Kenney said he is the first city employee to die from the virus.

The total confirmed cases for all citizens in Philadelphia was 3,728 as of Monday afternoon. Forty-five people, including Walker, have died.

Walker was 59 years old and worked as a police officer for 33 years. He died Sunday. City officials did not know when his last shift in active duty was.

Philadelphia police Lt. James Walker
Philadelphia Police Dept.
Philadelphia police Lt. James Walker died Sunday, April 5, 2020. He was the city's first officer to die from the virus.

“This weekend, we lost a friend, a family member, a hero,” Kenney said. “Any death is tragic, but today, it hits close to home. We have seen the first death in our family of City employees. The pain for Lt. Walker’s brothers and sisters on the force is compounded by their recent loss of Sergeant James O’Connor—another life that could not be mourned fully due to the gathering  restrictions surrounding COVID-19. This is a heartbreaking reminder that the virus is affecting people throughout our community—especially those on the frontlines.”

Sources also told NBC10 that a couple dozen other Philadelphia police officers have tested positive. City Managing Director Brian Abernathy would not comment on the number of confirmed cases of city employees infected with COVID-19.

NBC10's Miguel Martinez-Valle reports on the efforts Philadelphia Police are making to protect against the spread of CVOID-19 after Lt. James Walker died from coronavirus complications over the weekend.

Abernathy did say that the city's deployment of officers remains "consistent" and that sick time has not increased drastically.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we send our deepest condolences to this officer’s family,” FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby said in a statement.  “We should never forget the sacrifices of our officers and those on the front-lines battling this pandemic and working tirelessly to keep our great city safe.”

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