Many police officers across the nation have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes, most recently, a member of the Rockford police force. The DeKalb police department has put guidelines in place to minimize the spread in its organization.
Steve Lekkas is a DeKalb police commander. He said the department is doing what it can to protect its officers. Lekkas said the officers are handling some things over the phone, but there are times that they have to go out in the field.
"In those circumstances, we’re strongly recommending the officers to be wearing masks at all times. They’re sanitizing their squad [cars] and themselves as frequently as possible," he said.
Lekkas said officers will continue to make traffic stops as they are able to keep a safe distance most of the time.
“There’s different strategies. I mean if we can get the person to come out and talk to us outside of the vehicle, and maintain a safe distance, that’s preferred but it just depends on a case by case," he said.
Lekkas points out that officers are responding to calls that they normally didn’t have to worry about before COVID-19.
“There’s a lot of people who are not complying with the stay at home quarantine or the social distancing so unfortunately officers are getting sent to a lot of calls like that," he said.
Lekkas is reminding the community that they can help reduce the spread. He said this can be done if people stop calling the police for non-essential reasons.
“We’ve had people who are still getting into fights or causing arguments for no real significant reason aside from just a Facebook argument or things like that,” he said. “So that’s what’s kind of frustrating. It seems like some people don’t take it seriously.”
Lekkas mentioned the recent COVID-19 death in DeKalb County. He said that should show people that it’s here and it’s very serious. He wants people to comply with the stay at home orders.
So far, no DeKalb police officer has tested positive for COVID-19.