Washington State law enforcement protects themselves against COVID-19
Alexander Wolf, reporter
Faced with the threat of contracting COVID-19 while on duty, Washington State police departments have been forced to take special precautions. Law enforcement organizations such as the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, The Washington State Patrol, The Tacoma police department, and other such organizations in Washington have done everything from informational music videos to social distancing.
The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC), an organization specializing in training criminal justice professionals, stated that their foremost concern is the wellbeing of their workforce.
“Our top goal right now is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our staff and recruits,” Sue Rahr, executive director of the WSCJTC, said in an April 20 message to stakeholders
The WSCJTC campus has been closed since March 16, in a peremptory move to prevent on-site staff and recruits from contracting COVID-19.
During the campus shutdown, the trainers at the WSCJTC were able to adapt their training to limit close contact exposure.
“The CJTC staff and trainers immediately went into ‘Apollo 13’ style problem-solving mode,” Rahr said. “I am very proud to say they have developed some extraordinary ideas for addressing the immediate challenge of close contact training during the COVID emergency.”
Some of the ideas developed by the WSCJTC staff include eliminating wrestling practice, incorporating online materials for recruits away from campus, and the conversion of multiple classroom lessons to an online remote training format.
The WSP has also taken measures in response to COVID-19, such as limiting in-person access to its facilities.
“We’re limiting exposure and contact with people that we don’t necessarily have to have contact with,” WSP Trooper Chris Thorson said on KUOW. “We’re practicing our social distancing, keeping enough space, because the last thing we want as a first responder agency is for our troopers [and] our employees to get sick and having this virus run through the Washington State Patrol.”
The Tacoma police department, like the WSP, is also engaging in social distancing whilst encouraging others in their new music video called “Step Off Six”.
Whether these law enforcement organizations are training criminal justice professionals, patrolling our roadways, or making educational virus protection videos, each organization has been forced to adapt to realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.