Barnegat police officers sport new look to protect themselves from coronavirus

The Barnegat Police Department has been ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting officers from the coronavirus.

News 12 Staff

Apr 17, 2020, 2:50 AM

Updated 1,458 days ago

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The Barnegat Police Department has been ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting officers from the coronavirus.
Not one Barnegat police officer has contracted the virus – mostly thanks to decisions Chief Keith Germain made back in February. Police officers are now wearing a lot of protective equipment.
“They’re wearing N95 goggles, disposable gloves and a Tyvek type of garment that is basically a disposable uniform they can get rid of at the end of their shift,” Germain says.
The force only has 50 officers, so Germain said that after seeing COVID-19 spread through Europe, he told a lieutenant to rush out and buy the gear.
“We haven’t had any offices test positive for COVID and we are working in an environment where there are over 4,200 positives in Ocean County,” the chief says.
State law enforcement officials say that 600 police officers across the state have contracted the virus, with another 2,000 in quarantine.
Germain says that the department is also sanitizing patrol cars and using UV light to clean masks. The extreme look is also helping officers who may be intentionally targeted with exposure to the virus.
Photos: The Heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic
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A man was recently arrested in Hamilton Township for drunk driving and spat on police and hospital staff, telling them that he had the virus. In Howell Township, police say a shoplifter who was arrested at Lowes told police he was positive for the virus.
Germaine says that police calls are down 6% since the outbreak and that car accidents are down 60%. But he also says that domestic violence calls are up 260%.
“We get some looks when we step out of the car and they’re not expecting to see us in this new attire,” says Sgt. Anthony Parsley.
Officers say that the extra equipment can be hot and uncomfortable. But they say that it is worth it for the protection.
Other police departments around Ocean County are now following Barnegat’s lead.


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