On the job with essential workers: Part 1, Police


ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ Plus) — Whether you’ve tested positive or not, everyone has been affected by the coronavirus. This is the first of a four-part series that dives into the life of an essential worker, and today we start with local police.

“I think every day is new to us since this all began,” says Sgt. Matthew Plummer with the Altoona Police Department.

Plummer says he’s had his fair share of changes because of the pandemic and it starts right as he walks in the door.

“I start off with taking everyone’s temperature. Every morning I’m taking about 30 temperatures and recording them onto a form that we have.”

He says if an officer has a temperatures of 100.4 degrees or higher they are asked to go home and re-evaluate the next day.

Life inside the office has also changed.

“Currently our officers are required to wear a surgical mask at the bare minimum. These masks are to be worn when outside a patrol vehicle or when responding to calls and dealing with members of the public. These masks are also to be worn when inside the police station whenever other officers are around,” says Plummer. “Some of the changes that you may notice when you walk around our police station are the signs on each door that limits the number of people allowed in the office at any given time.”

Officers also have to call personnel if they need any case files as some rooms are even closed off to them.

Interactions between officers and the public have also changed.

“If they don’t have a mask we’ll stay outside that six feet and still talk to them. We’re not going to not interview somebody because they don’t have a mask when they’re speaking to us,” says Plummer. “We’re trying to ask them to come outside and speak to us but if it’s something we have to go into the house, we’re still not hesitating.”

As cleaning supplies are becoming harder and harder to find, Plummer says donations of disinfectant sprays, wipes and hand sanitizer are always helpful.

“These items are being used to clean out officer’s patrol vehicles at the end of a shift and the detectives and administration to clean out their offices at the end of their shift.”

He says it’s been nice to spend more time with his family but says he’s ready to get back to normal.

“It’s been nice having the kids home but it also get a little hectic. We’re a human just like everyone else is and we miss going out to restaurants. The big thing for police officers has been haircuts.”

Make sure to tune-in for next week’s edition of a day in the life of an essential worker.

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