‘Complete negligence’ – former Raleigh officer says of Department’s failure to disclose COVID-19 case

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As first responders, Raleigh police are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is why they were wearing masks at a protest Tuesday in downtown Raleigh.

Previous: Raleigh police officer tests positive for COVID-19, department waited week to inform staff

Officers still have to get close to the public and arrest and transport suspects.

That puts them at risk of exposure.  

When an officer tests positive for the coronavirus, you would expect every person who came in direct contact with that officer would be notified.

But an internal police memo obtained by CBS 17 News states the Department received notification of the positive test March 31.

However, some officers were not told until April 7 – a week later.

“Some of them did not find out until this story was released by CBS. That’s a concern that they had to find out through the news over their own agency,” said Rick Armstrong, a former Raleigh police officer who works for the Raleigh Police Protective Association.

“It’s complete negligence and it’s a failure on the police department’s part. The administration, the management should have done a better job of notifying the employees that somebody tested positive,” said Armstrong.

On April 9, two days after the memo was issued, CBS 17 asked RPD if there was at least one case of COVID-19 within the Department.

“We cannot confirm,” RPD Public Affairs Manager Donna-maria Harris wrote.

The police chief even kept Raleigh’s mayor in the dark.  

On April 10, CBS 17 asked Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin about it, 10 days after the officer tested positive.

“I did not hear that yet, but i will check into it,” said Baldwin.

In response to repeated requests by CBS 17, Harris wrote:

“RPD staff have been instructed to follow Wake County Health Department and CDC guidelines.”

According to CDC guidelines “if an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

“They’re protecting the city from criminals, and they’re not being protected from their employer, their chief is not protecting them,” said Armstrong.

More headlines from CBS17.com:

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