As the threat of COVID-19 looms over the globe comes the unsettling truth that many of us are more susceptible to the virus than others. As studies show, those that are older in age, have compromised immune systems or have underlying health issues are all at greater risk for contracting this concerning and often fatal disease.
What we can’t forget, however, is that the threat of the disease doesn’t only exist for those who are inwardly compromised.
On the contrary, there are many who find themselves in externally compromising situations everyday that inevitably put them at greater risk for contracting COVID-19 than others. And of those groups, it is those on the front-line, including police officers, whose health is at stake.
Law Enforcement and COVID-19
According to media outlets that include the Washington Post, Time and CNN, come the heartbreaking reports of how much the modern-day coronavirus has affected the police department.
Just this year, over 1,000 NYPD police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, with numbers continuing to surge as the days carry on.
Likewise, there are many sobering reports that COVID-19 has taken the lives of more police officers this year than the combination of any other cause.
Though the situation is grim, it helps to analyze what could be the potential causes for such a surge of the spread of COVID-19 within the law enforcement community.
Based on studies performed and posted by the National Institute of Health on NCBI, police officers face many perils in the contemporary world that put them in grave danger. Of those perils include the need today for officers to potentially come in direct contact with those who refuse to follow public ordinances and safety protocol in relation to the disease itself. As society grows in tensions, and stress arises from the pandemic at hand, many people today are becoming more and more obstinate to the idea of wearing a mask and adhering to other specific protocols as a means of everyday life.
As anxiety and aggravation over the matter worsen, officers are finding themselves in the position of needing to respond to, and at times, come into physical contact with citizens over issues that weren’t issues in the past. Moreover, police are having to respond to everyday routine crimes and other situations that could involve people infected with the virus, or with asymptomatic carriers able to pass the disease from one person to the next.
To make matters worse, many crimes and other situations often involve bio-hazardous fluid, such as blood, saliva or urine that, aside from being unsanitary, pose significant hazards to the police force, including sickness related to coronavirus and potential fatalities.
Remediating the Risks
To add to the aforementioned physical risks that officers come into contact with daily, the transference of criminals and other persons to police vehicles is yet another cause for concern. Studies confirm that the coronavirus can easily live on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the material in question. The meaning? Higher risk of the transfer of those germs from outside parties to officers that come in contact with infected surfaces within their squad vehicles.
Though there is no surefire way to ensure that police officers are unaffected by the virus, there are steps that can be taken to remediate the issue.
One of those steps is to take serious measures to keep police cars disinfected at all times, and sometimes that takes a full sweep. Professional cleaning companies are of good use, now more than ever, for eliminating threats related to COVID-19. Using a detailed and informed approach, a professional and reputable cleaning company will know the measures to take to kill COVID-19 and other dangerous microbes on contact without destroying materials in the process.
Having said that, officers can assist in the process of protecting themselves by washing their hands, sanitizing vehicles after each transport and limiting contact with affected sources, though this may prove a challenging task while on the job.
Nevertheless, many officers today are found using a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water to disinfect the inside of their vehicles when they are able, but honestly, some situations may call for more aggressive measures.
If a citizen, officer or any other person has been confirmed as having had COVID-19 and was recently transported in a police car, the need for that law enforcement vehicle to be disinfected is crucial. This is a situation in which professional care is not only recommended, but vital to keep the virus from spreading from person to person.
When It Comes to Law Enforcement, Safety Matters
All in all, safety is of the essence when it comes to law enforcement, and any other front-line work, for that matter. For that reason, it is imperative that proper safety protocol be followed, and that disinfection of police vehicles, especially following a transport, be carried out. When in doubt, those in law enforcement may wish to look to a professional cleaning company that is reputable and well-versed in COVID-19 guidelines and cleaning protocol to properly disinfect vehicles when it matters most.