A veteran corrections officer who labored on the Hudson County jail has died from problems of the coronavirus, apparently the primary regulation enforcement officer in New Jersey to succumb to the outbreak.

Bernard Waddell Sr., a 28-year veteran from Plainfield, was a “front-line hero,” Gov. Phil Murphy stated throughout a information convention Thursday after talking with the officer’s spouse and county officers. “This isn’t summary for them, as it’s not for therefore many.“


Waddell is the primary regulation enforcement officer to die in New Jersey as a result of pandemic, in line with Patrick Colligan, president of the state’s main police union. However Colligan stated a number of different officers across the state are on ventilators and in “very severe situation.”

All through the state, native, county and state police are seeing their ranks thinned as members take a look at constructive for COVID-19. In Hawthorne, about a quarter of the police force has tested positive, according to local officials. The jails in Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties have all reported employees members who’ve been contaminated.

Waddell was married and the daddy of three, though a daughter died beforehand. He was remembered by colleagues as a household man who labored lengthy hours but additionally discovered time to take part in charityoccasions for these in want in Jersey Metropolis. His son, Bernard, is a regulation enforcement officer in Union County. 

“He was an excellent officer and even a greater man,” stated Ron Edwards, Hudson County’s director of corrections. “All the time had a smile and at all times had a form phrase. A real gentleman and courageous officer.”


In an announcement on its web site, the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Affiliation referred to as the demise a “grim reminder” of the dangers that regulation enforcement faces whereas serving throughout the pandemic. 

“We ask that you simply maintain Officer Waddell’s household and colleagues in your prayers at this troublesome time as we mourn his loss,” the message acknowledged. 

Derrik James, the president of the union representing Hudson County corrections officers, stated Waddell educated him 26 years in the past when he first began work on the Kearny jail. He stated he hardly ever missed work and was at all times keen to fill in when wanted. 


“We’re nonetheless processing this,” James stated. “Total he was an incredible man, a tough employee, who labored a whole lot of time beyond regulation.” 

Anthony Smith, one other corrections officer educated by Waddell, stated he spoke to the veteran simply weeks in the past.


“He confirmed me the ropes,” Smith stated.  

Smith is the founding father of Blacks in Legislation Enforcement Servicing the Group, which runs backpack drives and occasions serving meals to the homeless. He stated Waddell typically volunteered his time to good causes and gave time to the group. 

“I sat with him many occasions, getting recommendation, and once I first began the group he was one of many those that gave me recommendation on tips on how to go about it,” he stated. 


Smith stated he and Waddell talked about retirement and that the officer was ready to step down till one in every of his sons bought married. 

“He was caring for his household,” stated Smith, who stated he has additionally examined constructive for COVID-19 and is recuperating at residence. 

William O’Dea, a Hudson County freeholder, remembered Waddell as a loyal officer.


“He did not look to retire early, and that reveals his dedication,” he stated. 

O’Dea stated a number of corrections officers have reached out to him in latest days involved about being uncovered to the extremely contagious virus. The jail in Kearny has had a number of officers take a look at constructive for COVID-19, in line with James, the union president.  

“It is a robust scenario, particularly now when you will have a illness the place so many individuals are asymptomatic and that makes it harder,” O’Dea stated. “And sadly a minimum of for the subsequent couple of weeks, it is not going to get any higher and we’re going to proceed to cope with a really robust scenario.”


Monsy Alvarado is the immigration reporter for NorthJersey.com. To get limitless entry to the most recent information about one of many hottest points in our state and nation,  please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Electronic mail: alvarado@northjersey.com Twitter: @monsyalvarado 

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