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NJ correctional officer dies from COVID-19

Bernard Waddell Sr., 56, was a 28-year veteran correctional officer at the Hudson County jail

By Rodrigo Torrejon
NJ Advance Media Group

HUDSON COUNTY, N.J. — A 28-year-veteran correctional police officer at the Hudson County jail died after contracting the coronavirus, union officials said Wednesday.

Bernard Waddell Sr., 56, died after contracting the coronavirus, according to the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, which represents about 33,000 members around the state.

“He’s going to be sorely missed in my department,” said Ron Edwards, director of the Hudson County Department of Corrections. “He was more than just an officer. He was a gentleman.”

In a separate post, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office sent their condolences to the correctional facility, who “lost one of their own.”

Waddell’s death comes as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread within jails across New Jersey.

At the Bergen County Jail, a corrections officer tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting seven other officers to self-quarantine. A superior officer at the Essex County Jail also tested positive for the coronavirus. A Morris County sheriff’s officer working at the Morris County Correctional Facility also tested positive for the virus.

Inmates and federal immigration detainees have called to be released, while employees at the jails have asked for pay boosts and for more testing.

This week, more than 700 county jail inmates across New Jersey were released amid fears of the encroaching pandemic. Many federal immigration detainees at some of the immigrant detention centers housed at county jails have also been released by way of consent orders passed down from federal judges.

New Jersey’s major corrections officers unions have asked the state to increase pay for officers working inside the state’s prisons and for employees’ own dedicated testing center.


©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.