Houston police show support for 36-year department veteran battling COVID-19

Houston police officers are praying for 36-year department veteran Ernie Leal who is in grave condition from COVID-19.

"The Houston Police Department is not immune to this virus our employees are not immune to this virus and it's been a daily challenge for us ever since the beginning," said Executive Assistant Chief Matt Slinkard.

120 HPD officers are now in quarantine, 76 have tested positive for COVID-19, 44 are awaiting test results.

"We truly are a family," Slinkard said. "We have a family member that is in very grave condition."

Family members watched remotely as several officers gathered Monday night to pray for officer Leal.

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"We want to let this family know that we are with them in spirit even though we can not be with them physically right now," said Slinkard.

"I can guarantee you if we were in Ernie's situation battling this horrible virus he'd be doing the same thing for us," said Lieutenant J.L. Rosas.

Leal loves being a police officer and superiors say his job performance is proof of that.

"Whenever I received an assignment that was a little extra tricky I gave it to my top dog Ernie he never let me down he would always go above and beyond," said Sergeant Panfilo Galvan.

"In this week of Thanksgiving when we are supposed to be giving thanks for the many blessings that we all truly have let's not take for granted the blessing of health," said Slinkard.