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COVID-19 Pandemic News & Resources: Issue #5

TO: Virginia Law Enforcement

Welcome to the fifth installment of news and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic! 

You can find the previous roundups here:
UPDATE #1 | UPDATE #2 | UPDATE #3 | UPDATE #4

VACP OFFICE CLOSURE

In accordance with Governor Northam's "Stay at Home" Order,
VACP Staff are now working remotely from home. We will be checking
voicemail or, in some cases, answering forwarded calls on our cell phones;
but as always, THE BEST WAY TO REACH ANY OF US IS BY EMAIL

Be safe. Stay healthy.

VACP Petitions Governor Northam to Delay Enactment of Legislation


On Monday, the VACP Executive Board sent a letter to the Office of Governor Ralph Northam requesting either the veto or delay enactment of two key pieces of legislation that were passed by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly — HB582 & HB1250.

The request comes in response to the heavy burden being faced by law enforcement during the current pandemic and the near impossibility of taking on new unfunded mandates come July 1.

READ THE LETTER

Virginia State Police Release on Enforcement Practices of Governor's Executive Orders & Directives

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please find attached below the statewide press release from the Virginia State Police regarding enforcement of the Governor's recent Executive Orders. The release reiterates for the public the designated Executive Orders' (EO) enforcement measures and then clarifies what the EOs don't do. That final list is based on the steady emails and calls coming in from the public and media. The release is written to be VSP-specific and is not intended to comment on the COVID-19 enforcement practices of Virginia's other local and state law enforcement agencies.

RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police encourages all Virginians to adhere to Virginia Governor Northam’s directives and do their part by staying home in order to best mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID‐19 within the Commonwealth. State troopers, for their personal protection and for the safety of the public, are minimizing their direct contact with the public. All Department recruitment events, public presentations, training, ceremonies, etc., have all been canceled or postponed through June 10, 2020.

READ the PRESS RELEASE

Update from Office of the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security

1. We wanted to make you aware that the Virginia Department of Health updated their testing guidance for high-risk individuals and that criteria now includes prisons, jails and detention centers. As a reminder, state testing performed at DCLS, Virginia’s state lab, is reserved for patients who meet VDH’s four priority investigation criteria. We appreciate all of your feedback and assistance in facilitating this change and are grateful to VDH for incorporating our feedback.
4. Person who resides or works in a congregate setting (e.g., homeless shelter, assisted living facility, group home, prison, detention center, jail, or nursing home) AND who has fever or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness AND who tested negative for influenza on initial workup. 

2. Additionally, regarding the situation where a police officer is exposed to a person under investigation (i.e., ill person being tested) and whether that officer should self-quarantine, please refer to the CDC Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposures: Geographic Risk and Contacts of Laboratory-confirmed Cases that was updated on 3/22/20. This states that personnel in critical infrastructure positions may be permitted to work as long as the person is asymptomatic. Here is an excerpt:
"Some personnel (e.g., emergency first responders) fill essential (critical) infrastructure roles within communities. Based on the needs of individual jurisdictions, and at the discretion of state or local health authorities, these personnel may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (either travel-associated or close contact to a confirmed case), provided they remain asymptomatic. Personnel who are permitted to work following an exposure should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program including taking their temperature before each work shift to ensure they remain afebrile. On days these individuals are scheduled to work, the employer’s occupational health program could consider measuring temperature and assessing symptoms prior to their starting work. Exposed healthcare personnel who are considered part of critical infrastructure should follow existing CDC guidance."
 
3. Finally, we understand that there is a need for additional PPE, hand sanitizer, and other materials. We ask that you connect with your local emergency manager to ensure that these requests are logged in WebEOC.
 
We look forward to our next weekly call on Monday at 3pm and if there are any questions in the meantime please don't hesitate to reach out.
 
Nicky Zamostny, MSW
Deputy Secretary
Office of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security
nicky.zamostny@governor.virginia.gov

BJA Funding Available to Help Public Safety Agencies Address COVID-19 Pandemic

April 1, 2020 — The Department of Justice is making $850 million available to help public safety agencies respond to the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19. The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, authorized by the recent stimulus legislation signed by President Trump, will allow eligible state, local, and tribal governments to apply immediately for these critical funds.

Through the program, the Office of Justice Programs will fund successful applicants as a top priority on a rolling basis as applications are received. Funds may be used to hire personnel, pay overtime costs, cover protective equipment and supplies, address correctional inmates’ medical needs and defray expenses related to the distribution of resources to hard-hit areas, among other activities.

Learn more in the Department of Justice press release and view the solicitation for funding details.

IACP Webinar & Links to Resources on the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding

IACP WEBINAR: Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Fund Overview

National Sheriffs' Association Endorses Command Sourcing for Private Sector COVID-19 Testing Option

Editor's Note: The National Sheriffs' Association recently endorsed Command Sourcing, a private sector provider, as a COVID-19 testing option when tests are not available through other avenues. While we continue to encourage first responder testing prioritization here in Virginia, many of you may need a testing option when you have exhausted other avenues.  Here are the details and a memo from the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA). Command Sourcing is also maintaining an updated FAQ at their website at www.CommandSourcing.com.  
 

MEMO from National Sheriffs Association (NSA):

As many of you run into issues in acquiring testing kits for your personnel and/or inmate populations, we wanted to make sure you were aware your options.

OPTION 1: State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) 

Many, if not all, states have a process set up within their state EOC through which sheriffs may obtain these kits. The system is built to determine whether a test is needed, if the testing kits are approved, who administers it, and is it within a set price range. Test kits acquired this way are covered by the state itself, and not the sheriffs directly.

OPTION 2: Command Sourcing

An alternative to Option 1 is to go through Command Sourcing, a private sector provider. We have sought the guidance of Dr. Marc Stern, a correctional health care consultant, who has taken the time to vet both the test kits and the laboratory being used. Dr. Stern determined that both are legitimate and a viable option for those sheriffs willing to pay for the test kits themselves.

Things to note about these kits:

  • The cost is $1200 for 100 kits (overnight shipping included), and you can order up to 500 kits at a time. Command Sourcing is shipping these kits within 7-14 days of your order.
  • Cost of the testing itself is covered by the Coronavirus Relief Bill.
  • The kits contain the swab needed to get a sample as well as a container and pre-paid packaging for shipping.
  • Both the nasal swab test and the medical testing lab are FDA-approved.
  • Command Sourcing is limited to 3,000 tests a day, or up to 14,000 tests a week.
  • Test results are generally available within 24 hours of receipt of the sample.

You can order the test kits on the Command Sourcing Website:
www.commandsourcing.com/covid-19-test-kits.html

Massachusetts police, fire departments employ new weapon against spread of coronavirus

Cops and firefighters are using electrostatic guns to disinfect cruisers, cells, fire apparatus and equipment.

NORTON, Mass. — The police and fire departments have gone full Star Wars on battling the coronavirus.

Cops and firefighters are using electrostatic guns to disinfect cruisers, cells, fire apparatus and equipment.

“It looks like something out of Star Wars,” Police Chief Brian Clark said Tuesday, adding that the gun quickly and evenly coats a surface with a chlorine solution.

The applicator gives a negative charge to the disinfecting solution as it exits the nozzle. It allows the sanitizer to wrap around and evenly coat all types of surfaces for a better cleaning job, Clark said.

“It cleans more. It’s more efficient and you don’t have to touch the surface,” Clark said.In addition, the surfaces that are already covered repel the spray, making the method extremely efficient.

The school department lent one gun each to the police department and the fire department. Schools don’t need them because they’ve been ordered closed until at least May 4.

The guns come in handy with cleaning products in high demand and short supply, the chief said, adding he will look into purchasing some for his department once the product is more available.

Source: The Sun Chronicle

Attorney General Herring Urges Virginians to Complete Census Questionnaire Online

On “Census Day” Herring highlights the importance of the census for things like federal funding for healthcare and transportation, and state and federal legislative districts

To make things as easy as possible, you can
respond to the census online at
https://2020census.gov/.
You can respond online even if you didn't receive the 12-digit response code in the mail. Responding takes less than 10 minutes.
RICHMOND (April 1, 2020) – On “Census Day” Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging all Virginians to complete their 2020 decennial census questionnaires to make sure that there is an accurate count of Virginia’s population. Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds are directly tied to demographic information obtained through the census, including the Highway Trust Fund and other Department of Transportation grants, Child Care Development Grants, and Medicaid. Consequently, inaccurate counts can potentially deprive Virginia of much-needed funds designed to protect low-income and vulnerable communities.
 
“On this Census Day, most, if not all, households in Virginia should have received a census questionnaire – please make sure to fill it out and send it back to the Census Bureau. While I know most of us are focused on the coronavirus, it is so incredibly important that we all still participate in the census,” said Attorney General Herring. “The census isn’t just a project that the government does every ten years to figure out how many people live in the country. It ensures that Virginia has fair representation both at the state and the federal level and it determines funding for critical things like healthcare, transportation and childcare. To make things as easy as possible, you can respond to the census online at https://2020census.gov/, over the phone or through the mail.
 ... 
While the census counts Virginians at their permanent residence, people without a permanent residence are counted at the place where they are living on April 1st, which is why that day is known as “Census Day.” The 2020 census is already well underway but, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, response rates have been slower and the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted the original timeline in response to that.
 ...
A total of $700 billion is distributed annually to nearly 300 different census-guided federal grant and funding programs. In FY2015, Virginia received over $953 million in Highway Trust Fund grants, over $131 million in Urbanized Area Formula Grants, and nearly $64 million in Child Care Development grants, all based on census data.

READ MORE

FREE WEBINAR, presented by Lexipol:
"First Responders, Stress Management & Coronavirus"

How to take care of yourself and your family during this crisis

Thursday, April 2, 1pm ET/ 10am PT 

Coronavirus transformed our lives nearly overnight. Suddenly, we’re bombarded with messages: Stay home, shelter in place, avoid sick people, flatten the curve, not enough ventilators, you may be a carrier for days without symptoms.

For emergency services professionals, the extra layers of worry on top of jobs that are nerve-wracking by design can quickly become overwhelming.

In this free webinar, former paramedic, law enforcement trainer and resilience expert Mike Taigman will explain how stress affects first responders and provide strategies you can use to manage during the long haul of this pandemic.

You’ll learn:
  • How stress during emergencies such as the coronavirus outbreak impacts our bodies at a cellular, psychological and emotional level
  • Strategies you can start to use instantly to lower your stress and build resilience during the coronavirus crisis
  • Practical ways public safety leaders can help decrease stress for their personnel on the frontlines of this epidemic
Presented by:
Mike Taigman, Improvement Guide and Lead, ResilientFirst - FirstWatch
 

Register Today!

Registration is free. Can't make it? Register anyway and we'll send you a recording after the event. 

Questions? Contact us.

FREE WEBINAR, presented by PowerDMS
"Crisis Communication 101

How to take care of yourself and your family during this crisis

Thursday, April 2, 1pm ET/ 10am PT 

Coronavirus transformed our lives nearly overnight. Suddenly, we’re bombarded with messages: Stay home, shelter in place, avoid sick people, flatten the curve, not enough ventilators, you may be a carrier for days without symptoms.

For emergency services professionals, the extra layers of worry on top of jobs that are nerve-wracking by design can quickly become overwhelming.

In this free webinar, former paramedic, law enforcement trainer and resilience expert Mike Taigman will explain how stress affects first responders and provide strategies you can use to manage during the long haul of this pandemic.

You’ll learn:
  • How stress during emergencies such as the coronavirus outbreak impacts our bodies at a cellular, psychological and emotional level
  • Strategies you can start to use instantly to lower your stress and build resilience during the coronavirus crisis
  • Practical ways public safety leaders can help decrease stress for their personnel on the frontlines of this epidemic
Presented by:
Mike Taigman, Improvement Guide and Lead, ResilientFirst - FirstWatch

Register Today!
Registration is free. Can't make it? Register anyway and we'll send you a recording after the event. 
Questions? Contact us.

FREE WEBINAR, presented by Chief Harry Dolan (Ret.):
"Keeping the Peace in Times of Crisis"

Watch the Free Webinar Anytime
With millions facing health concerns, economic struggles and mental distress, all while government curtails normal social activities, law enforcement agencies face the very real possibility of significant levels of civil disobedience.  Although officers are accustomed to curtailing the unlawful activity of small segments of their community, what makes the current pandemic crisis unique is that many civilians who are not typically apt to break the law or argue with police may find themselves acting out of character in the face of lost jobs and mental distress.

Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) will discuss strategies to address the law enforcement challenges associated with:
  • Small business owners who refuse to close up shop
  • Civilians who congregate in large numbers in violation of state or local mandates
  • Friends and family of hospital patients who insist on seeing their loved ones in spite of hospital policy
In addressing these challenges, officers on the ground must continually ask three key questions: 
  • How important is enforcing this law at this moment?
  • How much time and energy is required to enforce this law at this moment?
  • Is the ethical appeal to concerns for public safety more likely to gain voluntary compliance then the old adage of Ask, Tell, Make.
Keeping the Peace in Times of Crisis | Guidance for Police Agencies in the Face of COVID-19

National Police Week 2020 Shifts to Virtual Event

Current fallen officers will also be fully recognized alongside those who would be honored in 2021



Virtual Candlelight VigilThe current crisis that our nation and the world is facing has resulted in the cancelation of public gatherings in DC during National Police Week 2020. However, this will not deter us from honoring the fallen whose names will be etched on the Memorial this spring. On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum will host a virtual Candlelight Vigil that can be watched from anywhere in the world.

Learn more.

REMINDER: Free COVID-19 Resources from VACP Partners

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