AUSTIN, Texas - Thursday, the Austin City Council passed an item that would give $885,407 to the Austin Police Department for personal protective equipment.
“It’s for things like N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles,” said Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon.
The money came from the department of justice and according to Chacon, they can really use it right about now. The department has enough PPE for now, but Chacon said they need to have a reserve ready to go. “We are expecting a second wave of COVID to hit potentially in the Fall, and that'll hit the same time influenza is hitting so it could be doubly as bad. We want to have plenty of PPE in stock and we want to be ready when that happens,” he said.
The department can also use the money for paying for overtime costs.
“This is an emergency where we need officers more than ever. They are the first responders in many cases and are encountering people that are in distress and need help. Many of those folks don't have any type of protective equipment,” said Chacon.
Staff at the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas has been traveling around the globe, getting PPE to more than 350 law enforcement agencies since March.
“We asked state leaders to declare COVID-19 a presumptive disease so officers would be covered. When that didn't happen we realized what an emergency we were really in,” said Charley Wilkison, executive director at CLEAT. He said CLEAT has spent $350,000 on personal protective equipment distribution.
The Austin Police Department’s officers are required to wear masks, and this money ensures they can continue to protect and serve, safely. Wilkison said an officer wearing a mask is not only protecting the officer but the general public as well.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.