‘Take this serious:’ Tampa police chief says 42 officers are quarantined amid pandemic

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said on Wednesday that “several dozen” officers are currently in quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dugan called the virus a “severe problem” for the department.

“There’s no way cops can do their jobs without potentially being exposed to this virus. We can’t walk around with face masks; we can’t walk around with various personal protection equipment,” Chief Dugan said. “There’s no way for us to do our job without potentially being exposed to this virus.”

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According to the department, there are 42 officers quarantined. Of those, 15 were possibly exposed to the coronavirus in the line of duty. The department added that staffing is not currently an issue.

Dugan said he feels people aren’t thinking about how their choices affect first responders. His message for them? “Take this serious.”

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Dugan said three officers were quarantined after they performed CPR on someone Tuesday night. Dugan said the person died, and the cause is not yet known.

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“This is the sacrifices that people are making,” Dugan said. “These officers exposed themselves, potentially, to this virus trying to save someone else’s life.”

Dugan spoke about the quarantined officers while taking questions in a Facebook Live about the “stay-at-home” policy Mayor Jane Castor is hoping to enact on Wednesday. It would go into effect at midnight.

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Dugan said his department would enforce the policy if one is issued. He added that the department would rely on people “being good citizens” to make it happen.

“We are asking that people use common sense,” Dugan said. “This is much more serious than what people think.”

Watch Chief Dugan’s video in full below


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