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Local police carry extra gear to protect them from COVID-19 so they can continue to protect others

Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 19:08:37-04

Police departments across Northeast Ohio are gearing up with additional protective gear and wiping down equipment during the coronavirus pandemic. It's all to keep them safe while they protect the public.

But just like the information that changes so quickly about the coronavirus, the guidelines for first responders does too.

"The guidance and direction is changing daily. The current guidance is officers should wear goggles and a face mask," said South Euclid Police Chief Kevin Nietert.

According to Nietert, the department ordered supplies from the county last week but have not yet received the shipment because of the high demand. The city's fire department shared their supply of goggles and face masks with the police department. Those items are intended for only one use, but in light of the demand for the items, officers will be sanitizing and using the items again.

South Euclid police have also started taking some property crime reports by phone. Nietert said that residents should still call them regarding property crimes, but it is likely an officer will call the resident to take the report over the phone instead of coming out in person.

In Avon, police officers have been outfitted with personal protective equipment, PPE, since shortly after 911. In each kit that officers carry while on duty are a face mask, gloves, sanitizer and other items that can be used in a biohazard situation.

"We constantly train on it. So this really wasn't nothing new for the Avon Police Department, but having this equipment definitely is paying off now for us," said the department's Public Information Officer Jim Drozdowski.

Drozdowski said the cars are sanitized every shift and cleaned once a week with electrostatic disinfectant, the same type some airlines are using.

"They use their sprayers to spray seats, seat belts. A lot of school systems are using it as well," said Kennedy Carrier, CF Commercial Industries.

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