ROCHESTER, NY (WROC-TV) — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is issuing new gear to its deputies while the region deals with the coronavirus pandemic: rubber gloves, N95 masks, hand sanitizer and eye protection.
“We’ve got to keep them as sustainable and as healthy as possible. We’ve put a ton of energy into that,” Sheriff Todd Baxter said. With over 1,000 deputies and employees, Baxter said they are a limited resource, and they cannot afford to have those numbers dwindle.
Inside the Sheriff’s emergency command center monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic, Captain James McGowan said their task is to provide support to all bureaus for any support needed.
“Whether that’s equipment, manpower, planning for incidents and what we’re trying to do is be proactive and reactive,” says Capt. McGowan.
He said that includes equipment like the new masks. But not all law enforcement has this protective gear at the ready for their first responders just yet. Mike Mazzeo with Rochester’s Police Union said there have been some barriers when it comes to city police.
“There were some hiccups getting supplies out. We’re still not adequately supplied but we’re getting there,” Mazzeo said.
He said their force is substantially larger, and items like masks are limited. Getting them to everyone on patrol is a work in progress. “Could it be quicker, could it be better? Yeah, but we’re learning as we’re going,” Mazzeo added.
Lieutenant Ryan Fleming with the Rochester Fire Department said they are not experiencing any current shortage of coronavirus response supplies for their teams. They are following protocol akin to influenza when they respond to a call involving someone with possible symptoms.
While we’re all dealing with coronavirus, Sheriff Baxter says if you call 911 in an emergency, let first responders know if you have any flu or cold symptoms so if they have the gear, they can prepare.
“So we can take the protective precautions before we arrive on-scene,” Baxter said.