Police Foundation Launches Tool to Track Virus Impact on Cops

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New York police officers. Photo by David Merrett via Flickr

A real-time COVID-19 “situational awareness tool” for law enforcement agencies has been launched by the National Police Foundation, in collaboration with the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation and Esri.

The tool, featuring what the foundation describes as a real-time dashboard, will help police officials assess and monitor the impact of COVID-19 on first responders.

Among items that will be measured are officer exposures to the virus, diagnoses, impact on the police workforce, and needs for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The tool allows agencies to provide confidential, real-time updates that will instantly incorporated into the national dashboard and map.

The dashboard identifies the number of officers exposed, tested with a positive diagnosis, placed in off-duty status, and that are self-isolating because of symptoms. The tool defines exposure as any officer who reports having interacted with someone that is or may be infected with COVID-19.

The “situational awareness tool” has logged 682 “exposures” to the virus among 28,065 officers in the departments responding as of Tuesday. Exposure does not necessarily mean the officers have contracted COVID-19.

It also estimates the availability of necessary PPE, the most critical equipment that agencies are lacking, and current and projected shortages. Individual agencies will not be identified.

Law enforcement executives are encouraged to participate by submitting data via the National Police Foundation’s COVID-19 law enforcement resource page. 

Small to medium-size agencies reported more significant equipment shortages.

Foundation president James Burch said, “We designed a tool that would allow agencies outside of or even far away from hot spots to begin to see the impacts they could soon face to help all agencies better prepare.”

Thousands of New York City police officers have called in sick as the police department is hit with a growing number of coronavirus infections, the Hill reports.

About 3,200 cops were out sick Wednesday, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said, triple the normal rate and about nine percent of the force. “Backup plans are already underway,” Shea told MSNBC. “We are making adjustments. We are back filling patrols when we need to.”

As of Tuesday night, 177 uniformed officers and another 34 civilian NYPD employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Shea said that number has spiked further. “Has every member of the New York City Police Department been tested? I think that would be unrealistic,” Shea said, encouraging sick officers to stay home.

This story was reported by Ted Gest, president of Crime and Justice Journalists and Washington Bureau Chief of The Crime Report.

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