Coronavirus impacting law enforcement across Tampa Bay


A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

TAMPA (WFLA) — Police officers on both sides of the bay say the coronavirus crisis is having a real impact on their lives.

“In St. Pete specifically, we had officers who were spat upon by an arrested individual who claimed to have COVID-19,” Soncoast Police Benenolent Association President Jon Vasquez said. “We had a call where we had a woman who had concerns about COVID-19 and when the officer responded, she shot at the officer.”

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway says the virus is a concern for all of his officers as the perform their daily jobs.

“When those officers receive that phone call, they’re not asking all of those questions,” Holloway said. “If someone on the other end of that line is asking for help, then we are going to respond to that help. Then, after that we have to start thinking about did the person have this, did they have that.”

In Hillsborough County, three deputies are on quarantine after performing CPR on a victim, who later showed symptoms of the coronavirus.

The head of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association says it’s a concern now for officers on every call.

“So officers are going to have to be more cautious when they go into scenes, make sure they are masked and gloved up,” said PBA President Darla Portman.

Portman says officers have enough personal protective equipment for now to do their jobs, but they don’t know how long the crisis will last and so they are trying to obtain more PPE every day.


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