HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – The Broward Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of an emergency communications operator who died Monday after contracting COVID-19.
Nikima Thompson was 41 and leaves behind four children, ages 22, 21, 16, and 14.
An honor transport Tuesday afternoon took her body from Delray Medical Center to the dispatch center in Coconut Creek where Thompson worked, so grieving BSO employees could say goodbye before she was brought to a funeral home in Hollywood.
“That’s what she was put on this earth for — to save people,” daughter Heaven Thompson said. “And she is getting the honor and respect that she is getting because she did the most that she can.”
Thompson, who worked at BSO’s North Communications Center in Coconut Creek, is believed to be the first police dispatcher/communications specialist to die of the coronavirus in the state, Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
“We will honor her like we would do any fallen safety professional,” Tony said Tuesday morning.
Thompson worked for BSO for more than 16 years. March 22 was the last day she worked within the communications center, and on April 2 it was confirmed she had COVID-19.
She fought for a month before her family had to make the difficult decision to remove her from her ventilator Monday night. Tony said her organs were failing.
Thompson’s mother is currently fighting COVID-19.
.@bsosherifftony speaking out following the death of Nikima Thompson, a #BSO communications operator who passed away last night after battling #COVIDー19 for a month, “We are shaken, but we are not broken...keep us all in your prayers.” @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/8oSvFoJR4x— Sanela Sabovic (@SanelaWPLG) May 5, 2020
Thompson was born in Miami and graduated from Miami Norland Senior High School in 1996. She joined BSO in 2003 as a communications operator.
“People give up a lot do to this position, and not a lot of people can, and Nikima was a special, special person,” said Jo Anne Alvarez, a union rep. and colleague of Nikima’s. “It takes a lot to be a dispatcher and to listen and hear and deal with the things that dispatchers deal with, and she was the epitome of a dedicated, well-rounded, loved employee.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office lost deputy Shannon Bennett to COVID-19 in early April.