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Police union calls for testing of all NOPD officers after high-ranking official tests positive

The letter from attorney Eric Hessler says the officer worked several protests

NEW ORLEANS — The Police Association of New Orleans called on the City to test all NOPD officers after a high-ranking officer contracted COVID-19.

The letter, written by PANO attorney Eric Hessler, says the unidentified NOPD official "was present at ... numerous protests" and interacted with several protesters before testing positive for the coronavirus.

"Due to our concern for the health and welfare of the hundreds of other New Orleans Police Officers and their families, the Police Association of New Orleans is requesting that the NOPD immediately schedule and require testing of ALL NOPD police officers for COVID-19," the letter reads.

This week, New Orleans Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said clusters of COVID-19 cases have stemmed from graduation parties in New Orleans and large gatherings at the Tigerland bars near LSU, but haven't been traced to protests.

"There seems to be either a lack of understanding or a lack of responsibility among our young people and in some cases the parents who are aware of their actions," Dr. Jennifer Avegno, the City's Health Department director said. "I’m imploring all of you to recognize your responsibility to your community."

In response, NOPD Spokesman Ken Jones said “officers are already encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, however, it cannot be mandated.” 

There are now more than 53,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Louisiana, with 3,040 dead and 39,800 presumed to be recovered, according to the state health department.

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