By Justin Metcalf, Assistant News Editor—
As UTC students and faculty shift to online classes for the remainder of the spring semester due to COVID-19, the UTC Police Department must also adapt to the novel coronavirus outbreak as well.
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Emergency Services Robie Robinson said that UTCPD will stay on campus given that there are still faculty, staff, students and property to look after.
“The population is different now, but our jobs are the same,” Robinson said. “We still have people on campus to keep an eye on and protect.”
Because officers come into contact with a wide range of people, part of police training is becoming aware of bloodborne pathogens, and with COVID-19, officers received updates on what indicators and symptoms to look for when dealing with the population, Robinson said.
“This has made our jobs harder,” Robinson said. “We have to do the same things we were doing before, but now we have to add cleaning onto that. When we talk about social distancing, we have to keep in mind that every time we change shifts, our patrol cars and spaces have to be disinfected for the next person.”
The CDC released information that all law enforcement personnel need to know when dealing with COVID-19, which you can read here.
Part of this need-to-know information is the disinfection of all police equipment and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
UTCPD has access to PPE, which includes gloves, face masks and eye protection.
“Police officers are on the front line of service,” Robinson said. “It’s important for officers to show calm and preparedness. If we can all remain aware and calm, we can get through this.”
Ultimately, Robinson shared that the campus police should be an example for the rest of UTC’s campus during the pandemic.
“I think it’s important for us to set an example,” Robinson said. “We can show that we are aware and intelligent people reading and following the guidelines, watching the news and taking the necessary precautions to keep our community safe.”