Police officers who risked their lives during the deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol have been hailed as heroes. On Friday, after being one of the first D.C. police officers to get the coronavirus vaccine, Chief Robert Contee said some of those heroes have since tested positive for COVID-19.
“Some city platoons hit harder than others,” Contee said. “We’ve had a number of members test positive following Jan. 6.”
Contee did not say exactly how many D.C. police officers who responded to the riots have now tested positive, but since the pandemic began, at least 580 officers have tested positive, and one officer has died of COVID-19.
About 1,500 of the 3,700 members of the department have already signed up to get vaccinated, Contee said. He hopes more will follow his example in signing up, pointing out the risks his officers take.
“Especially here lately, with the activation of our civil disturbance units in response to the unrest we’ve had here in the city, we’ve had numbers that are in close quarters, in vans for 12 hours a day,” he said.
D.C. teachers and police qualify for the vaccines on Monday. For Assistant Chief Chanel Dickerson, who also received the vaccine on Friday, it’s become personal. She’s lost several members of her family to the coronavirus, including her father.
“I have since lost my aunt and my cousin, and right now I have an aunt that’s in the ICU that’s fighting for her life,” Dickerson said. “And I think that the one reason why people will not get it is because of fear. They’re fearing the worst, but the worst has happened to me already.”