In Kansas City, Missouri, two police committee speakers earlier this month criticized police officers for not wearing masks on a daily basis and said they even needed to hand out masks at the event. It was.
At that time, the city exempted essential workers, such as police officers and ambulances, from wearing masks and required everyone else to wear them outside the home. However, Mayor Quinton Lucas removed the exemption on Monday as he issued a series of stricter guidelines citing the surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus by blocking the flow of respiratory droplets that carry the virus. CDC guidelines for law enforcement officers basically reflect safety guidance for the general public.
In Minnesota, residents are required to wear masks for indoor business and public spaces, and people working outdoors are required to wear masks when social distance is not possible.
However, police and other first responders are exempt “in situations where wearing a face cover seriously impedes the fulfillment of public safety responsibilities.”
Jim Mortenson, secretary-general of law enforcement labor services, a Minnesota police union, said a reasonable exemption was needed.
“If you come across someone and someone starts firing a weapon into your car when they come into the scene, the last thing you think of is to wear a mask,” Mortensen said.
Other police union officials refused to discuss the issue or said the local police station should lead the masking decision. Mr. Mixshanks, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Kansas State Lodge, said individual departments had to decide on the equipment of police officers.
David A. Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a police expert, said it was reasonable to expect police to wear masks during more routine work.
“If the requirement says that you don’t need a time period, it’s understandable that the general public asks why,” Harris said. “If you can’t or shouldn’t wear a mask, why not wear one?”
Mayors of New York and Chicago said police officers would be disciplined for failing to comply with the Mask Ordinance in response to complaints from the general public.
When asked about unmasked police officers in a recent demonstration on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said his office had repeatedly discussed the issue with city officials. I think he has made progress, but he needs to do more.
“Sometimes there may be good reasons, especially in public security and medical services, but overwhelmingly all civil servants need to wear those masks, otherwise results should occur.” He said.
With the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot threatens to discipline police officers who ignore the city’s requirement to wear a mask on duty when social distance is not possible. ..
The city is escalating efforts to ensure that executives comply with departmental directives, awareness campaigns, internal messaging, and compliance checks. As of last week, one police officer had been disciplined for not wearing a mask, and other investigations are underway, according to city spokesman Howard Ludwig.
According to former New York Eugene O’Donnell, refusal to wear masks has been repeatedly attacked, especially since the outbreak of racist protests after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May. It is also a sign of low morale of police officers who have been accused. City police officer and professor at John Jay Criminal Justice University.
“We cannot ignore that cultural war is at the heart of this,” O’Donnell said. “The government has driven the stuffing out of the police and used this issue as a political mechanism. They are not worried about the lives of officers and appear to be pretending to be worried about the mask issue. … it’s not really a good time to ask the police for something. “
And he said it was unreasonable to expect police officers to carry weapons and worry about wearing masks while adhering to other responsibilities.
“Today is match day. You have to take it seriously and always adjust,” O’Donnell said. “Some executives legally believe that adding to a long checklist of things to do can be distracting to focus on tasks that can quickly become serious.”
Harris agreed that the mask could limit visibility, impede breathing, or otherwise distract police officers. But while sympathizing, he said the following protocol to protect the safety of the public and other officers was part of his job.
“We are all sick of it,” Harris said. “Maybe they’re more tired than others …. Masks are inconvenient for everyone. This is more than a miserable love company. They applied for a job with public contact. Sorry for the extra, but it’s a break. “
Associated Press writer Amy Fority of Minneapolis, John Hannah of Topeka, Kansas, and Don Babwin of Chicago contributed to this report.
Copyright 2020 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
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