Added layers of protection for Northeast Ohio police departments


AVON LAKE, Ohio (WJW) — Coronavirus is proving to be unavoidable for Northeast Ohio’s first responders.

An Avon Lake police officer, reportedly a 20-year veteran, joined the growing number of COVID-19 victims in the state.

Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said, “The police officer is expected to make a full recovery. He’s self isolating at home for the next 14-days and he’s going to be monitored by the Lorain County Health Department.”

The Avon Lake Police Department, as well as other law enforcement, are ramping up efforts to keep its patrol officers safe while on the job, including in neighboring Avon police.

Public information officer James Drozdowski said, “We tell the officers once a situation is done, wash your hands down with hand sanitizer, get out the station, wash yourself keep your exposure limited to other officers.”

With 1,600 uniformed officers on the clock every day, the Ohio State Highway Patrol also added more layers of protection.

Sgt. Ray Santiago said,  “At the beginning of every shift, each patrol car is disinfected. We have protocols in place if they do come in contact with an individual that they suspect as being with the symptoms or being infected.”

In the city of Cleveland, offices are dealing with a new normal including having one officer per car, using personal protection equipment like masks,  if they encounter someone suspected of being infected with COVID-19 and phone reporting for minor crimes.

In Avon, there are similar measures.

“We ask for residents to come out on their porch, weather permitting or in their garage, anything when we can keep that distance to be able to talk to them, get the information, handle the situation as necessary.”

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