coronavirus

LAPD Chief: Planning in Case Many More Officers Sickened by Coronavirus

Chief Michel Moore says schedule adjustments can accommodate widespread illness; goal is to prevent officer infections through distancing and protecting

NBC Universal, Inc.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore says he's optimistic the Department can prevent widespread coronavirus infections amongst officers by distancing when possible and using protective equipment.

"We've been fortunate to this point," the chief said.

Still, Moore told NBCLA Thursday, he has spent the last few weeks making contingency plans in case a large group of officers is unable to work because of the virus.

“We have modeled a loss of a 20 percent workforce, 30 percent workforce, 50 percent workforce," Moore said while standing outside the City's Emergency Operations Center in downtown LA. "I'm hopeful that our preventive measures can minimize the percentage of the people that we lose."

Late Thursday the city announced 15 LAPD employees and two LA city Fire Department firefighters had tested positive and were recovering. Several law enforcement sources said at least six of the LAPD cases were officers who worked at the Central Division in downtown LA.

Handout photo of emergency homeless shelter
Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency
LAHSA handout photo of an empty pop up homeless shelter at an LA City recreation center.

Some officers were switched to 12-hour shifts Wednesday in order to boost uniform patrols and to provide security at eight emergency homeless shelters set up inside city recreation centers.

Moore acknowledged that a shift in priorities may slow some investigative work, as many of the officers working in expanded roles were drawn from the department's specialized units of detectives.

“There are cases that are not going to be investigated as quickly as before, but people who have committed crimes I believe will be brought to justice," he said.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore in interview with NBCLA Thursday, March 26, 2020.
NBCLA
LAPD Chief Michel Moore talked to NBCLA Thursday about the challenges of responding to the coronavirus.

Moore said he's been repeatedly impressed by the dedication of the department's 13,000 employees. While many became police officers to catch criminals, he said officers are not hesitating to take on assignments that may put their personal health at risk.

"They have stepped up to do jobs that others may, or should, be doing, but are not either willing or able," he said. "I'm encouraged by their heart.They are demonstrating that they lead with their heart, that they love the act of service.”

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