According to the World Health Organization, one of the most effective ways of preventing coronavirus spread is simply staying at home. However, this is not an option for people in the police force. These brave men and women work hard to make sure everyone is safe, but unfortunately, they may come into contact with the virus. Here are some ways police departments around the country are working to stay healthy during the coronavirus outbreak.
Practicing Basic Hygiene
The virus is often passed by touching infected surfaces and then touching one’s face, so the first step all police officers should take is to avoid touching their face or eating unless they have washed their hands. Simply washing hands for 20 seconds with warm soap and water can remove most traces of the virus, so officers should do this in between any physical contact they have with others. When possible, officers should try to remain at least six feet apart from others.
Sanitizing Equipment Before and After Shifts
At the start and end of each of their shifts, police officers are encouraged to thoroughly sanitize their patrol cars and other equipment. The most effective way of doing this is using diluted bleach or another disinfectant to thoroughly wipe each item and allow the disinfectant to remain on the surface until dry.
Reducing Police Duties
Some departments have started adjusting police officer duties to reduce the amount of contact they have with others. Suspending in-person roll calls can make a huge difference, as well as suspending training for potential recruits. In some areas particularly affected by the virus, departments are also moving to phone responses instead of in-person responses for non-violent, non-emergency issues like lost property, shoplifting where a perpetrator has already fled, or crashes that do not cause injuries and roadway blockage.
Alternating Schedules for Key Personnel
For specialized units, like Explosive Ordnance Disposal, it may be wise to move to a staggered schedule instead of one where most members work at roughly the same time. This reduces the chances of everyone in the unit getting infected at the same time, so departments can hopefully remain functional with at least a few key individuals.