Coronavirus pandemic: As LAPD starts 12-hour shifts to enforce 'Safer at Home', officers fear getting infected
Chief Michel Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) informed officers the city is entering a new phase in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he could begin to move officers to 12-hour shifts with fewer days off as soon as Monday to ensure gentle enforcement of the 'Safer at Home' initiative.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the ‘Safe at Home’ initiative across California that requires nearly 40 million residents to remain indoors and limit outdoor movement to what is absolutely essential. “People who are asked to stay home because they’re not part of an essential activity, an essential business, or essential infrastructure recognize that it is an order, a lawful one, and we need them to comply with it,” Moore told NBC. Only essential business shall remain open while urging people to stay at home and avoid gatherings.
A similar mobilization strategy was last used by the department more than 20-years ago and can be implemented in times of emergency, Moore said. In 1997, there was a confrontation between two bank robbers and the LAPD force. The shooting went on for 44 minutes, leaving 11 officers wounded and the two perpetrators dead. The assault on the LAPD shocked the law enforcement that prompted an upgrade of the weaponry as the tactics and strategies were improved, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Enforcement of it is through awareness, through education, through outreach,” Moore said in a video message and an internal memo to Los Angeles Police Department officers, which also directed the rank-and-file to begin providing security at emergency shelters for the homeless. He asked the officers to wear uniforms so there would be enough officers to handle an increase in crowd and traffic control calls to ensure high visibility patrols.
With the United States reaching 26,892 positive cases, a death toll of 348 and 178 recovery cases, the officers fear the spread of coronavirus among themselves. There have been many law enforcement sources that have voiced their growing concerns about the coronavirus infection spreading among themselves according to NBC. The officers are worried about being isolated and removed from work while other officers get tested or treated.
A senior member of the command staff and a sergeant assigned to the Pacific Area station near Venice have tested positive. Both were expected to recover, Moore told NBC. Another officer assigned to the Central Division near Skid Row from the 77th division from the Mission Street Station tested positive. The workplaces of both the officers were cleaned and disinfected, stated the department.
Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti told NBC that the city would open 42 emergency shelters, which are designed to house asymptomatic people, most of whom are experiencing homelessness within weeks that could accommodate up to 6,000 people. The security needs at the shelters are a significant factor in the LAPD’s move to put officers on longer, more frequent, shifts.