The Department’s COVID-19 Protocol Is Overreaching

Corrections Officer Daniel Coyne

If any of you have had a COVID-19 exposure and contacted Health and Safety, you’ve probably been told all about the CDC mandates that prohibit you from coming to work or even leaving your home. This all seems legitimate until you do a little bit of research and discover that these so-called CDC mandates don’t exist. The CDC’s guidelines for law enforcement agencies do not mandate employees to stay home after an exposure. Under these guidelines, the CDC recommends that employees who are exposed to COVID-19 come to work, wear a mask and socially distance whenever possible if they are not symptomatic. When the Department quotes these CDC mandates, they are flat-out lying to you. The CDC is not mandating anything; they are only offering suggestions.

The Department has now forced well over 2,000 perfectly healthy, non-symptomatic officers to stay home and threatened them with discipline if they come to work. These officers are not symptomatic and want to come to work, but the Department is telling them to stay at home and to not leave the house for two weeks, and depending on where the exposure occurred, they want the officers to cover this time off with their own sick leave. I would expect to see these types of restrictions in some third-world communist country, not in the LVMPD, which prides itself on “I CARE” values. I mean, what makes an employer think they have the right to restrict your movements on your time off? Any logical person would agree that if you want to force a perfectly healthy, non-symptomatic employee to stay home against their will and restrict them from leaving their house, then you should not only pay them for their work hours, but also compensate them overtime for every hour they are forced to stay at home outside of their shift. Your employer should have to pay you 24/7 if they are placing you on “house arrest” under threat of discipline.

You would think that at a time when the violent crime in this community has been skyrocketing, you would want all hands on deck, right? I guess that’s just not the case.  Under the Department’s current COVID-19 policy, officers and the public are suffering. Here are the results of the Department’s COVID-19 policy:

  • Employee morale is down, as they are being forced to fight for their time back if they are placed on quarantine.
  • Employee morale is down due to being threatened with discipline by the Department if they don’t report a stuffy nose or allergies to them.
  • Officers’ workload has gone up due to thousands of officers being placed on quarantine.
  • Officers’ jobs are becoming more dangerous, since fewer officers are on the street and backup is not as readily available.
  • Crime has gone up as a result of fewer officers on the street.

All these problems can be solved if the Department would just follow the CDC’s law enforcement critical infrastructure guidelines and let our cops come to work. We have argued these points with the Department, but they refuse to be reasonable. This issue will now be decided on by an arbitrator, as the LVPPA has filed a complaint since the Department has refused to see reason on this issue.