I-TEAM: Cleveland police officers issued ponchos to use as protection during COVID-19 crisis

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The I-TEAM is asking questions about the latest protective equipment handed out to Cleveland police officers during the COVID-19 crisis — rain ponchos.

The ponchos had been for sale at the I-X Indoor Amusement Park when the park had a water ride. The I-X Center says it donated 5,000 ponchos for the city administration to use however it wanted.

One officer shared a note about the poncho, which said, “You will be receiving rain ponchos to use as we would a paper gown. Officers would wear this if arresting a COVID-positive suspect or going into a COVID-positive home.”

The city has been giving Cleveland police masks for themselves along with masks to put on suspects when arrested.

But privately, many officers wonder how a poncho will protect them from the coronavirus?

The I-TEAM sent a series of questions to the Cleveland Police Department and City Hall about the ponchos and other safety equipment. Officials have been very slow to respond to any questions about anything to do with the conronavirus. And as of late Wednesday afternoon, we had no response to this either.

“This is just one way we can give back to our community and help protect those workers with the highest exposure to COVID-19,” said I-X Center Executive Vice President Lisa Vo.

One union leader estimated that about 500 ponchos have already been distributed to Cleveland officers.

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