Two Carmel police officers are preparing to return to work after recovering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Carmel Police Dept. Lt. James Semester said the two officers were among the first confirmed cases in the state and that both are on their way to a full recovery.
“Both of them are chomping at the bit to get back to work,” Semester said, adding that they are waiting for their quarantine period to end.
Semester said CPD had already been practicing social distancing before the officers showed signs of illness and that those efforts likely kept the disease from spreading further.
“We’re putting our best foot forward to make sure we’re in front of the curve instead of getting caught in a bad situation,” Semester said. “We’re encouraging anyone who’s not feeling well to stay home, whether it’s COVID-19 or something else. We want that person to recover and stay in a place where they’re not going to infect somebody else.”
CPD has plans in place to handle the workload should a large number of officers become infected or quarantined. Semester said all sworn officers – such as investigators and administrators – could be assigned to patrol the city whether or not that’s their regular role.
He said police calls have decreased with residents ordered by Gov. Eric Holcomb to stay at home to prevent the pandemic from spreading. Police are using the extra time to proactively prevent crime.
“We’re doing a lot of business and area neighborhood checks, (actions) we did in the past but we’re doing more frequently now,” Semester said. “Our officers are very busy day and night, watching and making sure we’re not having anybody take advantage of less vehicle and foot traffic out. We’re still at full strength.”
In an attempt to slow the spread of the disease in Hamilton County, CPD has suspended many non-emergency services that require direct interaction with the public, such as fingerprinting, issuing gun permits and giving station tours.
Dispatchers are asking 911 callers questions about their health status, and if COVID-19 is suspected police are using masks and other personal protective equipment on those runs.