Tri-state area police & sheriff’s speak out on officer safety

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"We're just trying to flatten the curve and get this thing over as quickly as we can so we can all get back to our normal lives."

(WDVM)– While everyone seems to be working from home, others aren’t. Police officers have to brave the coronavirus pandemic in order to keep the public safe, but also themselves.

“If we’re exposed and it goes through our department, or emergency medical services, we have no medics, we have no law enforcement, where do we go?” said Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer.

The surrounding tri-state area Sheriff’s offices and Police Departments are equipping their officers with masks, hand sanitizer and more, including pieces of advice.

“It’s just a really scary time for a lot of people including some of our staff,” said Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer. “We’ve asked them if they get certain calls for service to see if the person can talk to them outside of the residence on certain types of calls just to stay away from closed confinements.”

Maryland and West Virginia Governor’s announced all non-essential businesses to close and advised people to stay at home, which the governors have the sheriff’s full support.

“We ask the people to follow the executive orders of the governor, particularly in groups of 10 or more because if we have to respond that exposes us a lot more as well,” said Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore. “We’re just trying to flatten the curve and get this thing over as quickly as we can so we can all get back to our normal lives.”

More importantly, priorities are being set by departments to decrease their officer’s exposure to possibly contracting Covid-19. 

“We shut down the office, you can only contact us by phone now and we’ll make arrangements to come out to you if necessary,” said Sheriff Bohrer. “We have limited some of the non-essential duties so we don’t expose the officers.”

Furthermore, at the Hagerstown Detention Center inmates are being screened and quarantined before being processed into the center to prevent any staff members from being exposed to hazardous risks.

“We’re still here, we’re still working, we’re still responding if necessary to calls of service. We’re just being a little more selective on what we’re physically going out on and contacting people about,” said Smithsburg Police Chief Bruce DeGrange.

At the end of the day, the police department and sheriff’s have a message for the public. 

“I kind of look at this like Christmas Day, when people just take one day out of the year to be a little more kind and a little more caring about each other, we’re all in this together so just remember Christmas Day,” said Sheriff Bohrer. “Just try to adhere to those principles and hopefully in a couple of weeks this will be in the rearview mirror.”

All departments ensure they are working around the clock, 24-7 to ensure your safety and their officers.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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