84-hour weeks helping GRPD avoid COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids police officer is recovering form the coronavirus.

Citing privacy laws, GRPD is not releasing the officer’s name or other details, but it appears he will be OK.

As to how the officer got the virus and if it was duty related, those questions may never be answered.

“Those questions are certainly being asked. Looking back at calls for service, things like that.” GRPD Sgt. Dan Adams said.

“The appropriate people have been talked to, but it’s obviously pretty difficult to narrow down. What we’ve focused on is he’s doing well. He’s expected to make a full recovery. The department’s there for him.”

While many of us are practicing social distancing and other measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19, police officers don’t have some of those options.

But GRPD has put a number of measures into place to reduce the risk to both the 284 officers in the department and the community.

The department is trying to handle certain complains over the phone to limit contact.

And when officers report for duty, they’re screened.

“We have stations set up around the building to check your temperature and look for some of the bigger symptoms that we’ve heard about with COVID-19.” Adams said.

But one of the biggest changes is to their schedule.

GRPD officers are now working seven days on, 14 days off.

“We came up with that as a way to build in a kind of rest and recovery period.” Adams said.

“Should a member became symptomatic or test positive, there’s a built in 14 day window where they’re not coming to work.”

Officers are also taking their cruisers home to prevent cross contamination with the next shift. Once their seven day tour is complete, the cars are disinfected before another officer gets behind the wheel.

While seven 12-hour shifts in a row makes for a long week, Adam says officers are making it work.

“Morale’s good. Everyone’s coming to work. No one’s calling in sick when the don’t need to or burning vacation time or anything like that.” Adams said.

And the numbers suggest the plan is working, especially when compared with what other police departments are dealing with.

The single infected GRPD officer represents less that half of a percent of the department’s total force.

At one point in Detroit, nearly 20% of the force was in quarantine.

“It’s important to note that we have one person in the department that’s tested positive. That’s also for the entire city, all 1,500 employees.” Adams said.

Calvin University has also offered local first responders and health care workers a place to stay if they’re worried about bringing the bug home.

Adams says while so far no GRPD officers have taken them up on the offer, they appreciate knowing it’s there.


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