Williamson County corrections officer dies after COVID-19 battle
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of Officer Susan Roberts of the Corrections Bureau. She was hospitalized while at work a week ago and died after her battle with COVID-19.
She had been with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office since 2009.
“She had many years of life in service left. It's unfortunate she's gone,” said Charley Wilkison, executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.
The Williamson County Sheriff's Law Enforcement Association said her death was in the line of duty. The sheriff's office itself has not classified it as that as of Monday. However, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas said, it should be without a doubt. “If they will declare that a line of duty illness it will eventually help,” said Wilkison.
CLEAT is working on getting the governor to make these types of deaths, presumptive, or assumed based on the job first responders do.
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“All of these deaths and all of these diseases are line of duty-related. It's really rare when there is not one that is. They are looking in those cells, looking for the health and welfare of the people inside, they are being communicated within very close range with a mask or not,” he said.
Wilkison said the jails are a petri dish for the coronavirus.
In Williamson County, 49 inmates have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, and in Travis County, 69 people have come up positive, which included inmates and employees in the jail. Wilkison hopes the state can get behind the cause, and provide the proper benefits who have lost a first responder to COVID-19.
“The pandemic is real, it's out there. It makes perfect sense that first responders would be in its path at a higher rate than the rest of the population,” said Wilkison.
Officer Roberts leaves behind a son who is also an officer.
She was a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.