Flint police chief asks community to get COVID-19 vaccine and protect officers
A large quarantine would deplete the Flint Police Department’s ranks quickly, the chief says
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens up to anyone 16 and older in Michigan on Monday, Flint’s police chief is encouraging the community to sign up.
Police Chief Terence Green said the vaccine will keep residents and their loved ones healthy while also protecting his officers from COVID-19. He believes that added layer of protection is vital to keeping the community safe.
Green said at least one of his officers had to quarantine every other week due to a positive COVID-19 test. He said they were exposed on the job, which is why he’s asking the community to do their part to protect those that protect them.
“I mean, they’re exposed. They’re highly exposed,” Green said.
Like most frontline workers, police say contracting COVID-19 while doing their job is unavoidable.
The Flint Police Department has protocols calling for officers to wear masks and maintain social distancing whenever possible. Green even asked his officers to limit going inside homes, but sometimes that’s not always feasible.
“My main concern was, those individuals out here that are asymptomatic. So that that’s a primary concern,” he said. “They can come in contact with someone that doesn’t even know they’re affected with COVID-19.”
In line with what the Genesee County Health Department’s numbers show, Green said the Flint Police Department also experienced an uptick in cases in March. When an officer is exposed to the illness, they have to quarantine for up to 14 days.
“The biggest risk is, if someone else in the department contracts from that employee -- that original employee. So we could add -- you have a potential to have 10 officers quarantine at the same time,” Green said.
With the Flint Police Department’s staffing, he said the city can’t afford that. Plus, he’s worried about the officers taking the coronavirus home to their families.
“It just wouldn’t be a good situation,” Green said. “I’m encouraging everyone in the community that’s eligible to get the vaccination. Keep us all safe.
Green said about 40% of his staff received the vaccine when they were originally offered it earlier this year and he was one of the first to roll up his sleeve. More and more have opted to receive it in the last two months.
“I wanted to show some leadership. I was one of the first ones that that received it, due to the fact that I read the data, did my own research. I felt it was safe -- 90% efficacy -- and due to the fact that we are exposed,” Green said.
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