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LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) — First responders in Lorain are getting a temporary pay raise for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor of Lorain says the coronavirus has created a stressful atmosphere for residents and for the police officers who respond to their calls for help.

“I got some statistics regarding the increases in domestic violence cases, assaults and menacing cases since COVID started and it’s been dramatic,” Mayor Jack Bradley said.

The city of Lorain initially received $3.2 million in funding from “CARES,” the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, and Mayor Bradley says a portion of the funds will be used give police officers an additional $500 a month in hazard pay.

“Not only do they have to deal with the risks usually associated with domestic violence, but they have to deal with the additional risk because people usually are not wearing masks when the police respond, they’re upset, and so the exposure to the COVID is increased,” he said.

Police officers on the front lines say the stress created by the pandemic since March has taken its toll.

“Tensions tend to rise, you know the little tiny things that kind of pick at you tend to set people off a little more and grow into major things, and that’s what we’ve noticed,” said Sgt. Jacob Morris.

The city is also using the CARES funding to award firefighters an additional $600 a month  

“Going into burning buildings and not knowing if they’re going to have to save someone, a lot of times there’s touching, you know we don’t know what type of vapors they’re breathing in,” said Mayor Bradley.

Dispatchers and auxiliary officers will also receive hazard pay, which will continue until December and could be extended into 2021.

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