AUSTIN, Texas — As of Friday, 40 sworn officers and seven civilian employees are off duty battling COVID-19.
In order to minimize unnecessary contact while maintaining their public service responsibilities, Austin Police Department leaders say non-patrol units will telework, lower priority calls will be handled online and over the phone, enforcement of non-hazardous traffic violations will be at the officer's discretion and the lobby will be restricted.
All non-required training and ride along programs are suspended.
This change comes after two Austin police officers died from COVID-19 complications one day apart from each other.
Senior Patrol Officer Randolph Boyd died of the coronavirus on Wednesday and Sgt. Steve Urias on Thursday. Boyd was the first APD officer to die of COVID-19.
“While many have had the blessing to be able to work from home, our employees continue to come into the workplace and go out in our community answering emergency calls for service and placing themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of our citizens,” Chacon said. “I commend our two fallen officers for their selfless service and for showing up every single day, despite the obvious danger that we’re all in.”
Chacon said in a press conference on Friday that the department is taking safety precautions against COVID-19, including following the City’s guidance on masks, encouraging employees to social distance when possible, working outside and trying to put officers in vehicles by themselves.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: