Union City Police Officer Alex Ruperto, an over 20-year veteran of the department, died today due to complications from COVID-19, friends told HCV this afternoon.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Ruperto had been hospitalized recently as his coronavirus symptoms got progressively worse, ultimately being forced to be put on a ventilator.
He is the first Hudson County police officer to succumb to the virus and the second member of local law enforcement: County Corrections Officer Bernard Waddell, Sr. passed earlier this month.
Serving for the UCPD since 1999, Ruperto, 52, was one of the department’s original ESU members and was most recently assigned as a detective in the training division, according to city spokeswoman Erin Knoedler.
She also said that he was a 1986 graduate of Emerson High School and that he leaves behind two children: Alex, Jr. and Juliana. His daughter works for the UCPD as a Public Safety Telecommunicator.
“Alex was kind, patient, soft-spoken and genuine. My heart breaks for his family and his UCPD family, especially in ESU as they knew him best,” Union City Police Chief Nichelle Luster said in a statement.
“It is devastating that his family and co-workers who could not be by his side when he passed. Alex was a good person and an exceptional officer and I know we will all remember him fondly.”
Mayor Brian Stack also paid his respect to Ruperto upon learning of his passing.
“My heart is heavy today after learning of Alex’s passing. I have always known Alex to be a consummate professional who is competent and compassionate,” he said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Alex’s family, friends and his fellow officers in the police department. I ask at this time that all residents of Union City keep Alex’s family and the Union City Police Department in your thoughts and prayers.”
He received nothing but praise from other local responders, a couple of whom spoke under the condition of anonymity since they were still reeling from his passing.
“Just a good guy. Aces … nothing else to say, a huge loss,” one fellow officer said.
“He was such a nice guy!,” another local first responder said.
Responding to a tweet about the news from this reporter, Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante also offered his condolences.
— Chief Ken Ferrante (@KenFerrante) April 16, 2020
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.