INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The first Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer with the coronavirus has been off work since March 12.
The second officer has been off work since March 16, and a third officer who works for a covert police unit tested positive around the same time.
On Friday afternoon, the department told News 8 that four officers have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. All four are quarantined at home and being monitored for any progression of symptoms.
“We have several dozen officers who are waiting for results,” said Sgt Grace Sibley, a department spokeswoman.
All police officers and first responders who suspect they have been exposed to the virus are being tested free of charge at two drive-thru locations.
IMPD says the number of officers being quarantined is changing almost hourly, and the department is not releasing exactly how many officers are quarantined.
The department has taken steps to control the spread of the virus. on Friday afternoon, IMPD’s downtown district roll call was on the sidewalk. In addition, the department has temporarily closed many offices and are restricting access to others. All cops are given personal protection equipment and instructed to not engage people any closer than 6 feet unless absolutely necessary.
Rick Snyder, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No 86 in Indianapolis, says the first four officers who tested positive are just the tip of what is coming. “I think the key point to make in this is we fully expect and are planning for a significant surge in numbers of our officers being positive.”
The FOP leader says he expects the increase in positive cases among officers because of the sheer number of exposure opportunities in doing their jobs daily.
Addressing efforts to control the spread of the virus, Snyder said, “Well, all contingency and continuity plans have to be on the table. The one thing that we understand in our prior training in preparation for things like this is this right now is a public health crisis and our officers are stepping through that, but the concern is trying to keep it from become a public safety crisis.”