NC law enforcement advocate says availability of protective gear among top concerns – especially in rural areas

Coronavirus

CARTHAGE, N.C. (WNCN) – A deputy with the Moore County Sheriff’s Office has tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Friday.

“The deputy started exhibiting some symptoms. He was in touch with his own personal doctor who pretty much asked him to go get tested,” said Deputy Sheriff Richard Maness.

Maness said the deputy immediately told a supervisor when he found out. The sheriff’s office is now working with the Moore County Health Department to retrace the deputy’s steps.

“Some of the places that this deputy has visited, his coworkers, people in his personal life,” he said. “So we’ve been working all night.”

Throughout the pandemic, Maness said deputies have been limiting face-to-face contact with the public. When that‘s not possible, he said they use N-95 masks and rubber gloves.

“We’re asking them if they have any interaction outside of their vehicle to mask up and have their gloves on,” Maness said.

The North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) advocates for law enforcement across the state. NCFOP President Randy Hagler said he’s heard a few concerns about COVID-19 — mostly from rural officers who said they don’t have the right equipment to protect them from the virus.

“You need that as much as you need your side arm,” said Hagler. “It’s just as important in this day and age that they be providing that equipment.”

Maness said deputies were provided PPEs at the beginning of the pandemic, but it still wasn’t enough.

“Typically, when we go on calls and we know people have guns, we know the danger that’s out there. But ye,t with this virus, it’s unseen,” he said. “What can we do differently? I’m not sure what we can do differently. We’re just gonna continue to be as careful in our dealings with the public as we can.”

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