Kansas City police shift priorities to maintain protection after COVID-19 sidelines 18 employees

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  Police say two of its members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 16 other police employees are now in quarantine.

Police said the two people infected are a patrol officer who had daily contact with the public and a civilian administrative employee. The 16 others had close contact with those two and now face two weeks of quarantine before returning to work.

RELATED: 2 members of the Kansas City Police Department test positive for COVID-19

As more officers are sidelined by the virus, police are implementing plans to protect the public, like canceling vacations and time off and shifting traffic officers to patrol duties, in order to make sure all calls for help continue to get a prompt response.

“Our main priority is to be able to respond to 911 calls for service,” Sgt. Jake Becchina said. “We have provisions in place that we have already pre-discussed that will allow us to continue police service, continue responding to calls for service, to continue to be out there in the community even with members on precautionary protocol or with a positive test.”

The Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police believes the two are just the beginning of what may be a lot more officers getting infected.

“We still at this point are asking and demanding that we have the stuff, the equipment that our members need to have to do their jobs,” said Brad Lemon, president of the Kansas City FOP. “The state has not come through. The city has still not come through. We have department members now being affected. This has to change.”

Lemon said that protective equipment has come from Russia or the Ukraine. On Tuesday, police received 500 protective masks given to them by former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Police also have received a lot of donations from the public, including hundreds, if not thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer.

The department has spent $20,000 in the last two weeks buying safety supplies.

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