Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in hospital with COVID-19; daughter says he's doing better

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon has been hospitalized with low oxygen levels after testing positive for COVID but is making improvements, his daughter said Saturday.

"Nurses reported improvements in my dad’s condition from early morning to early afternoon,"  Tiffani Jackson said Saturday night on her father's Facebook page. "It was said that he’d made a 'huge improvement!''

Jackson said earlier in the day that Napoleon was not on a ventilator and was awake but had low oxygen levels.

"All the other symptoms have subsided," she said.

The sheriff's office announced Thursday that Napoleon, 65, tested positive for COVID. He was sent to the hospital Friday night.

Napoleon had tested negative last Friday, but his temperature began rising Tuesday, sheriff's officials said. On Thursday, the sheriff's doctor gave him another test, which was positive.

“At this time I have a slight headache and light chills,” Napoleon said in a statement. On Facebook, he said "I’m experiencing very mild symptoms; my spirits are high and my faith is strong."

Jackson said her dad's recovery is going well.

"His spirits are high, and he's holding to his faith, resting and working hard to get through this," she said.

The virus has hit the sheriff's office hard. In May, Donafay Collins, commander of the division 2 jail, died at 63 after contracting it. Two deputies and two doctors who worked at the jail also died after contracting the virus.

As of Thursday, 20 employees at the sheriff's office were sidelined with the virus. Sheriff's office employees are tested daily, downtown at the division 1 facility, and in Hamtramck at its division  facility.

In March, Napoleon's brother, Hilton, who is Highland Park's chief of police, caught the virus, and was hospitalized for 71 days. Fellow top cop James Craig, Detroit's chief of police, had the virus in March.

On Monday, Napoleon's counterpart north and east of Detroit, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, announced he tested positive after reporting a "little cough."


(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN

James David Dickson contributed.