CHICAGO — A Chicago Police Department deputy chief shared his story of surviving COVID-19 on what begins National Police Week.
Five hundred and two = people within CPD have tested positive for COVID-19 including three who lost their battle.
Most have returned to the job, including CPD Deputy Chief of Narcotics William Bradley. He believes his brush with the virus has taught him more than ever even as a career cop and all that goes with that — that every day should be treated as a gift.
On a job that can be challenging at times to say the least, there is now the unseen danger — COVID 19.
The virus has already claimed the lives of three CPD officers: Ronald Newman, Detective Sgt. Cliff Martin and Officer Marco DiFranco.
Nationwide according to the Fraternal Order of Police, 93 officers have died
Bradley has been to COVID-19 and back. It was on the day of Officer DiFranco’s funeral — someone who worked under Chief Bradley but also someone who was a friend — that be began to notice symptoms.
“I was in a masters program with him and his brother so I really got to know him,” he said. “It was a very emotional day. I wake up and I had no sense of taste or smell.”
The said he noticed that when he opened his coffee, he couldn’t smell it.
After DiFranco was laid to rest, Bradley went and got tested. Sure enough, he had COVID-19. He informed his family and his chain of command.
For the next 14 days, he quarantined at home by himself. He had a lot of free time he hadn’t had in a while. He took the time to watch movies he missed such as “Forrest Gump.”
Bradley is divorced and co-parents a 17-year-old daughter. And all that solitude makes a mind wander — he started thinking about his mortality.
“A lot of us come into this profession because we’re tough guys and we want to help others,” he said. “We want to sacrifice our own safety to help others. Now it’s the time to be selfish because, if you don’t, you might affect others.”
To his fellow officers, Bradley says listen to yourself above all.
“Listen to your body,” he said. “Usually, before COVID, if you got sick, you pushed through. It’s just what you did. Now, you can’t ignore that.”
Two hundred and three people at CPD are still not back on the job due to the virus.
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