Covid-19 number 1 reason for deaths in the law enforcement sector, vaccines remain optional for police departments across Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas – No one is safe from the virus, even those fully vaccinated. The latest surge in cases as a result of the Delta variant, has proven just that.
Despite the fact the law enforcement officials were among the first eligible groups to get the shot since the vaccination process started back in December, latest reports show that Covid-19 is the leading reason for death in the law enforcement sector.
“We still have to answer calls. There’s no way that we can’t. We are essential personnel, along with fire and EMTs. There’s no way around it,” said Brandon Middleton, the Community Resource Officer for Little Rock police.
The latest data shows that more than half of the total number of law enforcement deaths this year is as a result of the virus. That being said, 115 people died from the virus out of 221 on-duty police officers across the country so far in 2021.
“If someone is getting injured inside a house, we can’t just stand outside because that person has COVID. We still have to go in,” Middleton said.
The Little Rock officers are doing everything they can to keep themselves safe from the virus. They follow the latest recommendations and are wearing masks while on duty.
“Another helpful tool is when people do call 911, the call takers ask has anyone been exposed to COVID and if so please let us know,” Middleton said.
“We mainly want to ask the public to be patient with the call takers when they ask that question because as you see now, it’s a very serious question that helps us better when we go into a call to prepare ourselves. We will still have a mask but it’s still good to know on the up and up if someone has been exposed or if someone in the house does have COVID.”
Local authorities are also seeking understanding from the community asking them to also protect them every time they can.
“Even on traffic stops, if you can, please have a mask on. That’s one of the best ways we can all get through this together,” he said.
The second largest cause of death among officers after the Covid-19 is gunfire, while the third is vehicular assault.
Latest data shows that around 46% of the employees with the Little Rock Police Department are vaccinated so far. Despite the fact that this number is lower compared to other states in general, the vaccines are still not mandatory for the authorities.