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NYPD: Two more detectives lose their lives to coronavirus

NYPD detectives Raymond Abear and Jeffrey Scalf died

NYPD detectives Raymond Abear and Jeffrey Scalf died Monday from complications of the coronavirus, officials said. Credit: NYPD

Two NYPD detectives died Monday from apparent complications related to COVID-19, officials said.

The deaths of Det. Raymond Abear, 43, and Det. Jeffrey Scalf, 46, brings the total number of NYPD detectives lost in the pandemic to four, with two more hospitalized in critical condition, Paul DiGiacomo, head of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, told Newsday.

“I call it the invisible bullet,” DiGiacomo said of the coronavirus. "It is no different than being shot.”

Abear, who lived in Queens, joined the NYPD in July 2001 and was assigned to the Special Victims Squad, the union said in a statement. Scalf, a Westchester resident, became a cop in January 2006. At the time of his death, the statement said, Scalf was assigned to the Bronx Gang Squad. Both men were married with children, according to the statement.

DiGiacomo described Abear and Scalf as outstanding investigators and said each had been named detective of the month by their union. DiGiacomo believed neither detective had any preexisting conditions.

"This a very sad time for the [Detectives Endowment Association],” DiGiacomo said in a separate statement. “But as we mourn the losses of our brothers in blue, New York City detectives will not relent in their commitment to keeping this city safe.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted that the news of the detectives' deaths made him feel “devastated.” Funeral and burial information for both detectives was pending as of late Monday.

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The NYPD has borne its share of COVID-19 illnesses. As of Sunday, 2,344 officers have tested positive for the coronavirus. That number is a slight increase over the previous day's total but statistics released by the NYPD show the pace of positive test results among department members has slowed.

Another recent indicator of police health is the tally of officers who have called in sick because of COVID-19, injuries or other illnesses not necessarily related to the pandemic. As of Monday, the number of NYPD cops on sick call had dipped to 6,380 — 17.6% of the force. The sick-call rate, which had been close to 20% since the pandemic hit the city last month, has declined steadily in recent days. Normally, about 3% of NYPD officers call in sick each day.

One former NYPD official, who didn’t want to be identified, said some detectives tend to work long hours and push themselves hard. The result is that they can become physically exhausted and prone to illnesses, said the official, who had worked as a detective.

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