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NYPD honors COVID-fallen officers with mourning bands, half-mast flags

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They are there to serve and protect — that is, until they can't because of a run-in with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

But for the New York Police Department — which at one point had as many as 20 percent of its force on sick leave — there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. More officers and civilian staff members are returning to work, bringing down the number of those out sick. At the same time, however, the department is mourning 27 members of its law enforcement family who have been claimed by complications related to COVID-19.

Beginning Thursday, NYPD officers are allowed to wear black mourning bands across their badges in what NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea called a "quiet commemoration" of those in the department who have died. He's also ordered the NYPD, city and American flags to be flown at half-mast at all police facilities across the city, including at the 50th Precinct. 

"This unprecedented crisis has already taken a significant toll on our NYPD family," Shea said, in a release. "We do not know how long it will last, so we will continue to honor our colleagues in this way for the foreseeable future. We do know we will emerge stronger on the other side together. And we vow to never forget our heroes' service and sacrifice."

Nearly 4,200 members of the department have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, according to Shea. However, 1,450 of those officers and support staff already have returned to work after fully recovering, although 2,100 uniformed officers and more than 600 civilians are still out sick because of the virus.

Those on the force who have died from complications of the coronavirus include:

• Carol Ryer, a traffic enforcement agent in the Bronx, on April 15. She joined the NYPD in November 1992.

• Robert Cardona, a detective in the 13th Precinct in the Kips Bay area of Manhattan, on April 15. He joined the NYPD in July 2001.

• Denise Prince, a police communications technician, on April 14. She joined the NYPD in July 1999.

• Jeffrey Scalf, a detective assigned to the gang squad in the Bronx, on April 13. He joined the NYPD in January 2006.

• Raymond Abear, a detective with the special victims squad in Queens, on April 13. He joined the NYPD in July 2001.

• Irving Cruz, a supervising police communications technician, on April 13. He joined the NYPD in March 2002.

• Mohamed Rahaman, an auxiliary police captain assigned to the 115th Precinct near Jackson Heights, Queens, on April 12. He joined the NYPD in December 1989.

• William Hayes, a traffic enforcement agent, on April 11. He joined the NYPD in 1989.

• Joseph Donofrio, a school safety agent assigned to the 113th Precinct near Rochdale, Queens, on April 10. He joined the NYPD in September 1992.

• Jack Polimeni, a detective assigned to the warrant section, on April 10. He joined the NYPD in April 1997.

• Richard Austin, a traffic enforcement agent, on April 9. He joined the NYPD in September 1985.

• Eric Murray, a patrol officer in the 25th Precinct near East Harlem, on April 9. He joined the NYPD in January 2006.

• Deidre Edwards, a city custodial assistant, on April 6. She joined the NYPD in August 2005.

• Ramon Roman, an auxiliary police officer assigned to the 72nd Precinct near Brooklyn's Greenwood Heights, on April 5. He joined the NYPD in March 2010.

• Angel Leon, an auxiliary police sergeant assigned to the 43rd Precinct near Soundview, on April 4. He joined the NYPD in September 1981.

• Linosee Mosley, a school safety agent in the 111th Precinct in Bayside, Queens, on April 3. He joined the NYPD in February 1994.

• Luis Albino, a school safety agent in the Bronx, on April 3. He joined the NYPD in May 2000.

• Lynford Chambers, an auxiliary police officer in the 113th Precinct near Rochdale, Queens, on April 2. 

• Karisma Dargan, a traffic enforcement agent in Brooklyn, on April 1. She joined the NYPD in February 2017.

• Ava Walker, a police communications technician, on March 31. She joined the NYPD in September 1999.

• Roniece Watson, a school safety agent, on March 30. She joined the NYPD in 2004.

• Gwendolyn King, a senior police administrative aide, on March 30. She joined the NYPD in July 1994.

• Sabrina Jefferson, a school safety agent in Queens, on March 29. She joined the NYPD in February 1994.

• Pierre Moise, an auxiliary police lieutenant assigned to the 71st Precinct near Brooklyn's Crown Heights, on March 28. He joined the NYPD in August 1994.

• Cedric Dixon, a detective with the 32nd Precinct near West Harlem, on March 28. He joined the NYPD in December 1997.

• Giacomina Barr-Brown, a police administrative aide with the 49th Precinct roll call office, on March 27. She joined the NYPD in 2013.

• Dennis Dickson, a city custodial assistant, on March 26. He joined the NYPD in 2006.

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