The vaccinations would be voluntary.
Frederick, Md (KM) Vaccinations of Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies against COVID-19 could begin within a month, according to Lt. Jason Deeter, Assistant Patrol Commander whose also responsible for emergency planning. “As soon as the Health Department has the appropriate supplies,” he says.
Under the state vaccination plan, Lt. Deeter says law enforcement officers are in line for vaccination behind front line health care workers, residents and employees of long term care facilities, such nursing homes, and EMT’s. “It’s voluntary with our agency. We’re not mandating it,” he says. “So we did already put out with our agency to our personnel who would be willing to get. So far, we’ve probably got about a 30% response rate.”
Despite the possible dangers face by deputies and other police officers of exposure to COVID-19, Lt. Deeter says this policy is not unusual. “We talked to the Sheriff, and the Sheriff wanted it to be voluntary right now. And that’s what most agencies around the state are doing,” he says.
But deputies who are reluctant to receive now could change their minds in the future once they’ve convinced of its safety and effectiveness against the coronavirus.. “It’s something new. Obviously, there’s some uncertainty with it. So right now, we’re just offering to those who want to get it,” Lt. Deeter says.
He says the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t require personnel get the flu shot, but it’s available for those who feel they need it.
Currently, Lt. Deeter says the Sheriff’s Office has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for deputies to respond to calls for service where someone is suspected of or has been diagnosed with COVID-19. “Back in March, when COVID-19 started, and we started seeing the affects in Frederick County, our agency was well prepared with sufficient PPE,” he said.
In order to protect personnel from the coronavirus, Lt. Deeter said deputies are doing their jobs differently. He said some calls for service can be handled over the telephone. Deputies will still respond if a citizens request it, but may ask that the resident meet the deputy outside.
High technology is also being used more frequently, such as citizens filing their complaints on line or over the phone,. he says.
But Lt. Deeter says Sheriff’s Deputies are still out patrolling in the county. “They’re going through the neighborhoods, doing the checks. Any calls for service they still respond to,” he says. “They’re still being very effective doing their daily duties.”
By Kevin McManus