Limited supply of PPE for Austin police officers during COVID-19 pandemic

More masks are needed for the Austin Police Department. After the CDC recommended the public wear masks in public spaces, Chief Brian Manley announced over the weekend officers will be mandated to do the same.

Manley recorded a message over YouTube stating the department has a limited supply of surgical masks, about ten days worth.

“These are not N95 level masks; they are not meant to protect you from catching it, so it is still vitally important that you maintain your social distancing, that you avoid touching your face and that you take all the precaution that you’ve been taking all along,” said Manley. “A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to everything we can do to ensure your safety and to ensure that we are giving you the best PPE that we can knowing that supplies are limited and knowing that we are all competing for the same item.”

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The officers will store the masks in a dry area and reuse as necessary. To help protect the front line workers, the Austin Police Association has purchased protective eyewear for officers as well. Manley advises officers to only use N95 masks for calls deemed necessary. The city is also working on providing APD personnel with cloth masks as an extra layer. 

Since the pandemic started, there have been two positive COVID-19 cases in the department, one officer and one civilian. Manley said both employees are working towards a complete recovery. 

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To limit exposure during this pandemic, APD has changed up operations. Serious service requests remain the same, but low-priority calls will be handled over the phone or online, including car accidents without injuries.

“We are all in this together. We want to do anything we can to ensure your safety and your family’s safety so as always stay safe,” Manley said. “Thank you for what you are doing and we will get through this together.”

For more information on how to help, visit the Austin C4C website.


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