FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Days after the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy suspended its class of police recruits due to COVID-19 cases and quarantines, a spokesperson for the Fort Wayne Police Department explained local COVID-19 safety measures with WANE 15.
The Fort Wayne Police Department operates its own academy, separate from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. While it is not currently holding a class, a session was completed during the pandemic.
According to Public Information Officer Jeremy Webb, while that class was in session, personal hygiene protocols were put in place and equipment, as well as work stations were cleaned and sterilized.
“We also follow all of the Allen County Health and CDC guidelines when it comes to exposure and reporting protocols,” Webb said. “We were able to complete our mission and graduate that academy on time without seeing a rise in anybody contracting or having a positive test with our recruits here locally.”
As far as officers on the streets, the department has eyes on the rising amount of new COVID-19 cases in Allen County. In the past, officers worked to reduce contact with civilians, either by putting on personal protective equipment or reducing in-person interactions.
“For example, we tried to minimize impact and a lot of calls for service that could be taken over the phone, were taken over the phone because that mitigates contact from the officer and the citizen,” Webb explained. “So, certain calls for service, which could be done over the phone were done over the phone, We haven’t reinstituted those protocols yet, but those were some of the protocols we had prior to.”
Webb told WANE 15 that Chief Steve Reed had not made plans to require vaccinations for officers or recruits.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, COVID-19 led officer deaths in 2020 (241) and 2021 (99).
The class at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy was expected to resume Monday.