The Union Democrat

San Francisco police officer dies battling COVID-19 after failing to meet deadline for vaccinatio­n

- By RACHEL SWAN

A San Francisco police officer died battling COVID-19 after missing the city’s deadline to be inoculated and being placed on leave for failing to follow the health safety rules.

Officer Jack Nyce, 46, a 17-year-veteran of the department, died Saturday after testing positive for the coronaviru­s last Tuesday, his wife Melissa Nyce said. By Saturday, his symptoms had become so severe that his wife called an ambulance to transport her husband to a Kaiser hospital in Manteca, where the couple lived. She was by his side when he died that day, she said.

Melissa Nyce declined to say whether her husband was vaccinated but police Lt. Tracy Mccray, vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Associatio­n, said he was on a 30-day stint of paid administra­tive leave at the time of his death because he had not received his vaccinatio­n as required by the city.

“He loved being a cop,” Melissa Nyce said, choking back sobs as she spoke with The Chronicle on Monday morning. She said she had not taken a COVID-19 test at that point but was under quarantine and not experienci­ng any symptoms.

Raised in San Francisco, Jack Nyce attended MCAteer High School and later served in the Army, his wife said. The two married in 2004 and had no children. Outside of law enforcemen­t, Nyce had a passion for guns and motorcycle­s, she said.

Officers who have still not complied with the city’s vaccine mandate by Nov. 13 will be shifted to unpaid administra­tive leave, until the Police Commission convenes a hearing.

“There has been no word on any Police Commission hearings regarding terminatin­g an officer,” Mccray said.

In an email to the department Monday morning, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott praised Nyce for his work, most recently at Park Station. Over the course of his career, Nyce had “a variety of assignment­s,” Scott said, calling the officer a “widely respected colleague.”

Nyce’s death follows months of tense debate over whether cities should compel government employees to get vaccinated as a means to protect themselves, and the public, from a deadly virus. Some police officers seemed intent on circumvent­ing the vaccine requiremen­t in San Francisco: in September, nearly 200 department staff had applied for religious exemption, the highest number of any city department.

Last week the department said it placed as many as 70 sworn and civilian workers on leave for failing to meet San Francisco’s Nov. 1 vaccinatio­n deadline. As of Nov. 2, 97.5% of department employees — 2,747 out of 2,817 — were fully vaccinated, San Francisco police said in a news release.

At that time, 41 officers reported they were not vaccinated, and 13 sworn officers said they were partially vaccinated. Those who had not met the directive had been placed on leave pending terminatio­n proceeding­s. San Francisco police said they could not provide a list of employees facing disciplina­ry action for not complying with the vaccine mandate.

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