Dennis Dickson, a veteran civilian cleaner at the New York City Police Department, died Thursday from coronavirus. Dickson, 62, of Brooklyn, was hospitalized Tuesday, and died at Kings County Hospital Thursday, police said.
He was the first NYPD casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. In a message posted to Twitter on Thursday night, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said, “Today, we lost one of our own.”
“We have lost a member of the NYPD family,” said Shea, “and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Dickson, a native of Guyana whose job included disinfecting areas of the 15-story police headquarters in lower Manhattan, worked for the NYPD for 14 years.
Following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, Dickson spent 17 days at the police department’s headquarters building, cleaning up the damage and assisting with emergency cleanup operations, according to officials.
Amid coronavirus, he has also been working to disinfect 1 Police Plaza before he fell ill.
“Mr. Dickson was again on the front line cleaning and disinfecting 1 Police Plaza so that our personnel could be here safely, allowing them to continue to serve the people of the City Of New York,” police officials said in a statement.
Dickson, who was married with children, also had a pre-existing heart condition, sources told New York Post. His widow, Debbie, posted a photo on Facebook, showing the two smiling and embracing.
“This is how I want to remember my husband,” she wrote. “Never expect u would leave me this soon.”
“U r and will always be my true love. “Until we meet again, my baby.”
Officials say 730 NYPD officers and 96 civilian employees are confirmed to have the virus, as of Sunday. Of those 826 total employees infected, 29 are hospitalized, and one is in critical condition, authorities told CNN.
Three members of the department have died of the virus.
In New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities say more than 1,000 people have died of the virus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for “all hands on deck” to help stop the virus, extending his order for all non-essential workers in the city to stay home until April 15.