Knoxville Police taking precautions to avoid COVID-19 exposure

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – As concerns grow over the coronavirus, those on the front lines are taking precautions.

The Knoxville Police Department recently sharing on Facebook that they are following CDC guidelines and recommendations from the Knox County Health Department.

More: Knoxville firefighters taking precautions preventing exposure to coronavirus

“We want to take every precaution necessary,” said Scott Erland with the Knoxville Police Department, “We’re trying to find opportunities to where we can still do our job at the highest level possible while minimizing contact and ultimately help in doing out part to limit communal spread.”

One preventative measure KPD is using is having dispatchers ask 911 callers for detailed information if someone is showing flu-like symptoms, so that officers can prepare before they get there.

The CDC recommending officers who make contact close contact with people wear the following protective equipment:

  • A single pair of disposable gloves
  • Disposable isolation gown or single-use/disposable coveralls
  • N-95 face masks
  • Eye protection (goggles or disposable face shield)
  • If unable to wear a disposable gown or coveralls because it limits access to duty belt and gear, ensure duty belt and gear are disinfected after contact with individual

If close contact happens during an arrest, the CDC recommends law enforcement to do the following:

  • Clean and disinfect duty belt and gear prior to reuse using a household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Follow standard operating procedures for the containment and disposal of used protective equipment
  • Follow standard operating procedures for containing and laundering clothes and avoid shaking the clothes

KPD is also prioritizing calls, similar to their severe weather plan, as a way to free up officers to respond faster to immediate emergencies and limit contact with people. An example of this: a KPD officer may not respond if there’s a car wreck with no injuries and traffic is not blocked.

“I think it’s really important that this is not going to be any kind of impact in our presence or vigilance in the community. This is just an effort to minimize those kinds of contacts. We’re still going to be just as present, just as vigilant and really the operations as normal are not that different,” explained Erland.

Officers are being trained on recognizing the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and before someone comes into KPD headquarters, they are screened to make sure they’re healthy.

“Everyone has a role in this and a role and responsibility to keep themselves safe and healthy but their community healthy,” added Erland.

As another way to avoid exposure, Knoxville police say if you need an incident report you can call (865) 215-7231 or email dpatty@knoxvilletn.gov.  If you need an accident report, you can get those reports online by clicking here.

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