NOPD Update 3-20-20

I received numerous calls today about concerns officers have about personal safety in light of the COVID-19 threat. I heard from officers worried about responding to some calls for service. I heard from officers who were concerned about responding to calls for service at some locations. I also heard concerns about personal protection equipment and the purchase and distribution of that equipment. The gist of the calls was that officers want to make sure someone is looking out for them.

First of all, the FOP is engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the administration regarding the safety of FOP members. Making a job that is inherently dangerous as safe as possible is one of the core missions of the FOP. Furthermore, it is important that officers who are not sick report to work as scheduled. Officers who are sick should stay home.

I am available by telephone, text, and email. The FOP will not stop working on behalf of its members.


The NOPD is set to increase the calls handled by telephone. On March 20 or 21, there should be a decrease in calls for service that have to be handled face to face. With more calls for service being handled by telephone, the risk of exposure should be lower. However, there are calls that require an officer’s physical presence.

If you have to be physically present on a scene, then you have to try to maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people. Try to avoid going in the homes of callers, if possible. Try to limit the number of people you are in contact with. When you are done, go find a place to wash your hands and try to avoid touching your face.


The NOPD generally did not have the type of equipment everyone is looking for right now. EMS gave some masks and gloves to the NOPD, but those don’t go very far once you hand them out. The next thing you know, you have to submit a 105 to get one more glove.

The FOP bought 1000 2 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer. I brought a case to the 8th District and the 4th District. We distributed the rest at the MAXX meeting on March 4. Unfortunately, not everyone got one. We tried to buy 1000 more bottles, but they were unavailable by then.

That is the bottom line. These items are hard to come by. The FOP ordered 4000 surgical procedure masks and 7400 gloves in different sizes. The shipping on that order was delayed from the beginning and, now, the delivery of these items is uncertain at best. I know the FOP and the NOPD continue to look for these types of supplies.


There are some locations with a higher rate of virus transmission than others. The Orleans Parish Communications District (OPCD) has locations like that flagged and officers won’t be dispatched to those locations unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, there will be equipment available for responding officers.

The FOP is always looking out for its members. We do our best to improve the safety of our members’ working conditions however we can. We will continue to discuss these issues. Please let us know about things that need to be addressed.



I wrote about the benefits of handwashing here, particularly noting the benefits of handwashing over using hand sanitizer. Hand santizer works when hand washing is not an option, but eventually, hand washing is an option and should be the first choice.

I saw a list of things to do (or not do) to protect yourself from the threat posed by the coronavirus. I don’t remember the whole list, but the first two items were the most important: 1) Wash your hands; and 2) Don’t pick your nose. The author was trying to be funny by pointing out nose-picking in particular, but it is true. As I discussed previously, we tend to touch our faces many times each day. The mucus tissue, like that found in your nose (and your mouth, eyes, etc.), is what makes touching your face dangerous.

I read this article (click here) about a trick to try to touch your face less frequently. A gist of it is that there was a study where signs were posted in bathrooms used by medical professionals regarding hand hygiene. There were two signs used: one said hand hygiene prevents you from becoming ill, and the other said hand hygiene prevents patients from becoming sick.

The medical professionals who were warned of the dangers to others were 11% more likely to practice proper hand hygiene. Police officers and other first responders are very similar to health care professionals in that concern for the well-being of others often overwhelms concern for themselves. Police officers run toward the danger.

So, the trick is to think about helping others – your family, your colleagues, the people you come into contact with on calls for service or giving directions. Wash your hand frequently and don’t pick your nose (or try to avoid touching your face). It will help everyone you come into contact with.

Protect Yourself

The point of this article is not to brag, so read the whole thing.

It is impossible these days to miss discussions of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. As law enforcement officers, FOP members are always coming into contact with high risk individuals. So, the FOP bought hand sanitizer and dropped them off at the MAXX meeting to be distributed to the Districts. If you didn’t get any, don’t worry. We have more coming.

4th District Station

As I said at the beginning of this article (under the FOP logo), the point of this is not to brag. The point is to say WASH YOUR HANDS. Those little 2 ounce bottles of hand sanitizer are good for when you can’t wash your hands, but washing your hands is better. See (at least the photos) this article. So, when you can, wash your hands with warm water and soap. When you can’t, the FOP has provided its members with 2 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer that fit neatly in your pocket.

Remember, there are situations where neither hand sanitizer or hand washing is enough. You should have latex gloves in your gear bag. The hospitals or EMS will usually give you latex gloves. You can wash your hands when you take the gloves off. Blood and other bodily fluids are nothing to play with. You might be able to wash your hands before you rub the coronavirus into your eyes or mouth. Blood can cause different problems. Always protect yourself.

Studies have shown that we touch our faces an average of 3.6 times per hour. The answer is to wash your hands frequently. You can work on touching your face less often, but most people do that without even thinking about it. WASH YOUR HANDS.

Donovan at Signal108 dot Com.