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Richmond Heights police officers get spit masks for extra protection from COVID-19

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Posted at 1:19 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 13:19:09-05

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — "We want you to get COVID and take it home to your family."

That is what some police officers are now hearing from people they are arresting — with some even going a step further.

“Instead of attacking us with their hands or something they’re going to attack us with their saliva,” said Lt. Denise Debiase, Richmond Heights police.

A handful of officers in Richmond Heights have reported they've been spit on while trying to take someone into custody.

The most recent case happened last weekend.

To better protect patrol officers, the department has ordered facial control devices that can be placed on a person's head.

It covers the lower half of their face to prevent them from biting or spitting.

“We don’t usually come into situations like this, but when we do, we’d like to be prepared for it. Once we get them, all of our officers will be trained on them we’ll have a policy for it as to when they should be used and we’ll keep them in our cruisers just like we would with any other device we use to safely take somebody into custody," Debiase said.

The facial control devices are expected to arrive within the next week.

After officers are trained, the one-time use shields will be in all front-line police cruisers in Richmond Heights.