Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President Kevin Graham is calling for stricter safety measures to protect Chicago police officers from COVID-19.
The Chicago Police Department currently has 134 members who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 128 are sworn officers and six are civilian members.
Graham says he’d like to see increased sanitizing procedures for CPD officers and vehicles, as well as greater precautions taken at individual police stations.
“It’s very difficult for our members right now, when they’re worried about their families, and they’re worried about themselves,” he said. “Certainly I would like the lobbies of the police stations closed. I’ve been told no on it, but I think that is important,” he said.
The idea has also been proposed by 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, whose Far South Side ward is home to many police officers and first responders.
“When people are infected with a virus that you’re working with so closely in a squad car, that you depend on them every day, and suddenly they contract it, you’re certainly worried about yourself and others,” Graham said. “This is this is a job that you work with others as a team. And so obviously, when one member of the team goes down, it’s alarming to the rest of the team.”
Graham says he’s also asked the city to make sure officers make as few arrests as possible to avoid possible exposure to the coronavirus.
“We don’t want to lock up people if we don’t have to. And we want the public’s cooperation on that as well,” Graham said. “Don’t make us lock you up. You know, if we have to, we will. But the reality is, we want to keep everybody healthy.”