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Sheriff Napoleon battles COVID-19 on a ventilator as his daughter asks for prayers


Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. - JON ADAMS
  • Jon Adams
  • Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon has been placed on a ventilator in an intensive care unit as he battles the coronavirus.

At a prayer vigil outside the Wayne County Sheriff’s headquarters in Detroit on Sunday, his daughter Tiffani Jackson said Napoleon was breathing on his own but decided a ventilator was the best way to heal.

“He was encouraged; he was standing on his faith, and he was an intricate part in the decision to be placed on the ventilator because we realized how vital it was for him to begin that healing process,” Jackson said. “I am encouraged that God hears our prayers, and slowly but surely day by day, he is answering those prayers.”

Jackson, who called Napoleon her “best friend,” said she was talking with her father every day before he was placed on a ventilator.

“We are here, we are strong we are united, we stand on faith,” Jackson said. “We have to stand united and believe that my father will walk out of that hospital the same way he walked into that hospital.”

Napoleon, a Democrat and former Detroit police chief, won a fourth term in November. He announced on Nov. 18 that he tested positive for the coronavirus and was experiencing a “slight headache” and “light chills.”

Paula Bridges, a spokeswoman for Napoleon, struck a positive tone and said the sheriff is prepared to serve another four years.

“He’s about to embark on his next term,” Bridges said. “He is extremely grateful to the voters of Wayne County for their overwhelming support of his leadership. The sheriff is proud of the work of this agency.”

Napoleon’s brother, Highland Park Police Chief Hilton Napoleon, was hospitalized for more than two months with the coronavirus beginning on March 13. He recovered.

Alvin Jackson Sr., pastor of Wings of Love Ministry Baptist Church in Detroit and Tiffani Jackson's father-in-law, led a prayer for Napoleon and others with COVID-19.

"We ask that you would deliver them from this vicious virus,” Jackson Sr. said. “You alone can restore their health and their strength. We ask in the name of Jesus that God would bring wholeness. We ask in the name of Jesus that God would touch the hands of the doctors and nurses who are out on the front line.”

The coronavirus swept through the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office earlier this year, claiming the lives of Cmdr. Donafay Collins and two deputies. Nearly 100 county inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham announced he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

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