Coronavirus: South Florida law enforcement agencies doing what they can to protect employees
MIAMI – City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina says his department, like many others, has been personally hit by the COVID19 pandemic.
"It’s been bizarre for the officers. They don’t know what to expect," he said. "We accept the inherent risk of being a police officer on the street wearing a uniform. Not knowing if you’re taking something home to your family is something we’ve never had to deal with."
Many officers are sitting out in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Those still able to work are doing so under the umbrella of social distancing rules, protecting the public, while staying safe, and carefully having to monitor what resources are available.
"We’re doing just OK," Colina said. "Now when I say 'just OK' I mean just OK for us. We're doing much better than many other places. We’ve had a lot of people donate masks to us. What we’ve had to do though is essentially ration."
In Miami Beach, police officers are also adapting.
Chief Richard Clements is carefully organizing the department, even creating a specially trained COVID-19 response team.
"The plan that we have in place, the splitting of the department if you will, into the two teams, and then keeping them in areas of responsibility, has seemed to work in slowing down the exposure aspect of it amongst our employees," Clements said.
Talking numbers, the Miami Beach Police Department has four positive coronavirus cases and 20 officers in quarantine. Fort Lauderdale PD has four cases and three others in quarantine.
City of Miami police currently has six positive cases and 125 in quarantine, while Miami-Dade PD has four positive COVID-19 cases.
A constant message from several departments and several chiefs is asking the public to help first responders by staying at home and staying safe.
“We’re all in this together,” said Clements. “Let’s make sure that we do our part, and the sooner that we do this, and the sooner we buy into what’s being told to us, the quicker that this goes away and we can get our lives back and start building it again.”
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