SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As more people stay home to stay safe, police officers must do the opposite and stay out to protect their communities, making possible exposure to the coronavirus part of their daily routine.
Placerville police, like many departments, are handling 911 calls over the phone when possible.
“If you really need us, we’re going to be there,” said Officer Bruno Gotzmer.
Officer Gotzmer said at the start of his shift, he wipes down and sanitizes everything he touches in the car. He takes it even further when its time to go home.
“I will wipe myself down with hand sanitizer and sometimes take a shower before I interact with my family because of what’s going on out here,” he said.
Out on the streets, it’s all about avoiding human contact when possible. That’s not easy for a police officer to do. He’s not responding to 911 calls that don’t have to be handled in person.
“If it’s a situation that’s been handled where the parties are separated we’ll kind of handle that by the phone. If it’s a cold call where there’s nothing going on and if we can handle it over the phone, those are the kind of things we’re doing,” Gotzmer said.
Dispatchers are questioning 911 callers about any symptoms they have that could be coronavirus. Gotzmer keeps masks and hand sanitizer with him at all times.
Recommendations from the governor and health officials have forced some businesses to close for now Gotzmer said he’s happy to do a security check. At the end of the day, his goal to come home safe and keep his family safe.
“I have two very small children at home so my routine has changed a little bit I’m coming home, I’m not being my uniform home. Washing it away sometimes from the house,” he said.
Officers all over the state are taking similar precautions. In Sacramento, they have masks, eye protection and gloves.
Officers are asking people to be patient. If you call 911 you might be asked additional questions about your health.