Two Culpeper Police Department police officers have tested positive for COVID-19 following an arrest involving a man who had twice been deported from the country.
The two police officers became symptomatic on Saturday and were tested later that day. They are currently being quarantined at home.
During the early morning hours on Tuesday, April 28, these two officers along with another officer responded to a domestic-violence assault. A man was actively assaulting a woman in a residence in the Town of Culpeper. Once the officers arrived, they heard a woman screaming from inside the residence.
When officers made entry, they encountered a man assaulting the woman. When officers attempted to arrest the man, he ignored all verbal commands and resisted arrest. The three officers had to go “hands on” with the subject to get him into custody.
Once the subject was in custody for domestic assault, he was then taken to the Culpeper County Jail where he was medically screened for COVID-19 before entering the jail. Based upon this screening, officers diverted the subject to the Novant/UVA Culpeper Medical Center to be medically cleared, including being tested for coronavirus.
The suspect tested positive for COVID-19 at that time. After the positive test result, the subject’s custody was then transferred to the Culpeper County Jail where he was held with no bond. Subsequently, the subject was served with a protective order for no contact with the victim and he was no longer permitted at the residence.
Later on April 28, a bond hearing was held for the subject in the Culpeper Juvenile Domestic and Relations Court where he was released from custody with an unsecured bond and referred to pre-trial services through the Culpeper County Probation Office. The suspect has twice been deported from the U.S., according to the United States Customs and Enforcement.
Culpeper Police Department policy is that all officers and civilian employees are to wear PPE when dealing with any member of the public. Due to the nature of an active assault and battery when officers arrived, they were not wearing protective personal equipment when inside the residence.
The third officer is currently under precautionary quarantine and has not shown any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as of this press release.
“Officers, deputies, paramedics, and firefighters are being called every day to people’s houses, into businesses, and other locations not knowing of the dangers that may exist, including COVID-19," Police Chief Chris Jenkins. "These officers responded to a violent crime and had no idea that their lives would change in an instant just by doing their jobs and protecting a victim against her assailant.
"Due to having COVID-19 I can’t imagine the anxiety and stress these officers are enduring being isolated from their family and friends and not knowing what’s to come for the next several weeks due to all unknowns of this pandemic," he said. "However, the suspect who gave them this virus continues to roam the streets potentially infecting many other people in our community.
The Culpeper Police Department currently has an additional officer in quarantine due to direct exposure of Covid-19. The Culpeper Police Department will continue to monitor all four officers and provide them with support, such as providing PPE to family members.
Officials expect all of these officers to be quarantined for the next several weeks and contingency planning in continuing. They will be welcomed back to full-duty once they receive medical clearance, Jenkins said, adding he will not be releasing the suspect’s name or the officers’ names due to medical privacy.
Services to Abused Families, Inc. (SAFE) continues to provide the victim with resources in this case.
“The reality of this pandemic, we are only a couple calls of service away from this happening to several other officers and we have got to be ready," Chief Jenkins said. "We will continue to encourage everyone to follow CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines and maintain social distancing.”