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Several New Jersey police officers are self-quarantining after learning someone who attended the funeral of a cop last week has tested positive for COVID-19, department officials said.

The Lakewood Township Police Department found out about the positive test late Monday, days after hundreds of mourners gathered at FirstEnergy Park on Friday for the funeral of Officer Nicklas Shimonovich, a police spokesman told The Post.

“I can confirm that we do have a number of officers that are self-quarantining,” Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith said in an email. “At this time none of the quarantined officers have tested positive. We will continue to closely monitor them over the next few days for signs of illness.”

Staffordsmith declined to say exactly how many officers were in isolation within the 149-officer department, citing “logistic purposes,” but said up to 95 percent of Lakewood cops attended Shimonovich’s service.

Lakewood Mayor Raymond Coles told the Asbury Park Press late Tuesday at least 20 township officers would need to self-quarantine after being exposed to someone at the funeral who tested positive for the illness.

“I only wish people would stop this routine of whether they should or should not wear a mask,” Coles said. “This should drive the point home that anyone can get sick anywhere. And people here need to start taking more seriously this virus.”

Up to four others who attended the funeral are also awaiting test results, Coles told the newspaper, adding that testing would be available for the entire department on Thursday.

Lakewood Police Chief Gregory Meyer also reached out to other top cops in Monmouth and Ocean counties who sent department reps to the funeral, Coles said.

Shimonovich, 23, died in an off-duty motorcycle crash in Jackson on Sept. 5, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Disposable masks were available to everyone in attendance and mourners were asked to practice social distancing, Staffordsmith said.

“The Lakewood Police Department took a proactive and precautionary role in trying to determine how many of our officers had close contact with the infected individual,” Staffordsmith said.

Anyone who attended the service should now monitor for signs of the virus and get tested immediately if they start showing symptoms, the spokesman said.

At least 3,111 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Lakewood Township, where 199 people have died as of Tuesday, according to Ocean County Health Department data.

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San Antonio City Council passes $2.9 billion budget, no ‘de-funding’ of SAPD

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council passed a $2.9 billion budget Thursday that makes very few changes to the San Antonio Police Department, over the strong objection of activists.

Despite anticipating lower revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic, city staff say the budget, which is $4.4 million less than FY 2020, is balanced and will not require any city layoffs or tax increases. The San Antonio Police Department’s general fund budget will increase more than $7 million over the FY 2020 budget to roughly $486.5 million, largely due to a scheduled, 5 percent pay increase for officers.

More than 20 people called in to the online meeting to urge council members to de-fund police, invoking the names of Darrell Zemault Sr. and other black men killed by SAPD officers. Funding for the department should be directed to other areas, they argued, away from a department they don’t believe truly serves the community.

“We all understand that budgets are moral documents, and the reality is the biggest piece of the pie that is the budget goes to law enforcement,” said Karen Munoz. “And law enforcement - as we’ve seen countless times - continues to abuse our community, especially black people in this community.”

The only new change to the proposed police budget, which activists called a “slap in the face” when it was unveiled in August, was the elimination of $739,500 in police cadet hiring bonuses, which City Manager Erik Walsh said were unnecessary given the current strength of the department.

City officials have pointed out that 79 percent of the SAPD budget is tied to the collective bargaining agreement it has with the San Antonio Police Officers Association, while the remaining portion funds things like the 911 communications center, technical support, and facility maintenance.

Both city staff and elected officials have tried to show they are still pursuing changes to the police department. City Manager Erik Walsh has proposed a months-long review of SAPD and its functions, including possible alternatives. However, that would not conclude until next spring.

City leaders have also put their focus on renegotiating the police union contract, which will expire after September 2021. The contract contains measures that opponents say keep officers from being held accountable for wrong doing.

Read more:
  • Proposed city budget tweaks add money for housing, health, and small businesses, but avoid large changes to SAPD

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