Keeping Law Enforcement Safe during the COVID-19 Crisis

Stay safe!

The Centers for Disease Control has issued specific guidelines for law enforcement to help officers stay safe during the current COVID-19 public health crisis. Sadly, no segment of our population will escape this persistent virus, including our law enforcement community. Officers are already used to facing the unknown, but this invisible enemy poses an immediate threat, not only to an officer, but to the officer’s family and coworkers.

As we navigate this public health crisis, the law enforcement community must be exceptionally vigilant in keeping our first responders and their families in top physical and mental health. Already law enforcement departments across the country are beginning to see its own officers infected with COVID-19, and sadly even succumbing to the virus in some areas.

Officers should follow the same guidelines as the general public when coming into contact with others, whether responding to a call or even interacting with coworkers. These guidelines include washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet and avoid touching the face.

If soap and water are not readily available and the officer is not responding to a case involving illegal drugs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is an acceptable substitute. When possible, an officer should meet people outside of their homes and avoid unnecessary contact with other individuals.

When possible, encourage the public to use non-emergency numbers to submit a police report by phone, rather than sending officers to people’s homes. If an officer is responding to a call involving anyone who is suspected of having COVID-19, a trained Emergency Medical Service person should transport that individual. Officers should also wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when in contact with individuals who may have COVID-19. These may include protective masks, gloves, goggles and clothing.

Officers need to stay mentally healthy as well. That means getting enough sleep, limiting alcohol consumption and staying connected with loved ones. Spend time playing video or board games with family, participate in video calls with loved ones who are far away, take walks with family members who live in the same home and make time to pursue hobbies.

Most important, know that as a law enforcement officer, your role is vital to the safety of your community and to our nation. It is a commitment that is not made lightly and one that is greatly appreciated.

Fallen Law Enforcement Officers to be Honored During Virtual Candlelight Vigil on May 13

National Police Week signature event to take place virtually in response to COVID-19 public health crisis

The names of fallen U.S. law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty will be formally dedicated on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during a virtual Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

Traditionally held on the National Mall with more than 30,000 first responders, surviving families and law enforcement supporters in attendance, special remarks and the names of each of the men and women who died in the line of duty during 2019 will be read aloud during the virtual Candlelight Vigil, which will be live streamed. The names of fallen law enforcement officers who died earlier in history, but whose sacrifice had not been previously documented, will also be read during this time.

“The current crisis that our nation and the world is facing has resulted in the cancellation of public gatherings in DC during National Police Week 2020,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “We will not let this crisis deter us from honoring the fallen. We plan to march forward in solidarity with a virtual Candlelight Vigil and the reading of the names that can be watched from anywhere in the world. Then, as the future becomes more certain and the end of the crisis is near, we will begin to make plans for an in-person reading of names to honor our fallen officers.”

Located in Washington, DC, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is a living monument to ensure the men and women who died in the line of duty will never be forgotten. The names engraved on the Memorial’s walls represent fallen officers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia,  U.S. territories, federal law enforcement, and military police agencies.