Oklahoma Police Departments Face Critical Shortage Of Protective Gear, Request Donations
Police departments across the metro on Wednesday are faced with a critical shortage of personal protective equipment or PPE. City of Luther police officials made a Facebook post requesting N95 face masks because they do not know when the state will have supplies for them.
Captain Chris Fetters said a Luther citizen recently donated face masks but they need more supplies to continue doing their jobs safely to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“My biggest concern is not only the citizens and visitors of Luther,” said Chris Fetters, Luther Police Department. “But my patrol officers.”
Fetters needs his small department healthy to keep working during these uncertain times. Just like other police departments across the metro, Luther has had to adjust.
“We try to limit as much interaction,” said Fetters. “So if you go to a residence or business on a call, if you’re going in definitely use a mask, use gloves or ask them to come outside to get the pertinent information.”
Before a resident came through with a donation of masks, Luther officers were down to one N95 mask each.
“The N95 masks you can’t find,” said Fetters. “We’ve requested through our county emergency management agency to get Tyvek suits, foot booties to go over our boots, the N95 masks.”
Oklahoma County Emergency Management officials said unfortunately extra PPE for first responders is not available.
“Some of these jurisdictions there are simply no resources available,” said David Barnes, Oklahoma County Emergency Management Director. “They’re having to reuse the material that they have which is a potential risk increase factor.”
Barnes said the state is giving healthcare workers first dibs on PPE and other supplies are going to larger cities first.
“The east coast and west coast and some other areas where they have significant community spread,” said Barnes. “Those have been prioritized and the bulk of the resources are going to those areas.”
Luther police received this week a donation of hand sanitizer from a Guthrie distillery and have enough supply to share with citizens.