Civilian staff at the San Fernando Police Administration Building are fearful of being infected with COVID-19 and are calling for transparency.
Although at least two police officers working in the three-story building have been infected while on the job, the civilian staff complained yesterday that no one is giving them any information.
Guardian Media was informed that an officer attached to the charge room in the police station adjacent to the building also tested positive. In addition, several police officers and at least seven civilian staff are in quarantine and awaiting test results.
“We are only finding out through the grapevine from people working in other stations in the division. We just don’t know what is taking place and we are scared,” one civilian staffer said on condition of anonymity.
In the last month, the staffer said at least two police officers working on the second floor had tested positive for COVID. A few weeks ago, the first floor was also shut down due to exposure to the virus and several officers are in quarantine and coupled with the lack of transparency, the building is not being properly sanitised, the worker claimed.
“I recall that when a corporal fell ill they sanitised the building once, but when the senior officer tested positive they did not sanitise the second floor where he works. And he was in contact with a lot of us. We heard him coughing in his office,” the staffer claimed.
At least five of the civilian employees have been in quarantine for about two to three weeks and have not yet received their results. There are about 22 civilians working at the building.
“We are working one day on, one day off. But we don’t feel safe here at all. We feel as though they don’t care about us. We don’t even know what is happening because we are not getting any information. We have to take our own precautions based on what we hear on the outside. This is not fair,” said another employee.
They are calling for regular sanitisation of the building and for the civilian staff to be kept apprised of any COVID-19 exposure.
A senior officer told Guardian Media that the building, charge room and others areas were sanitised after the officers, who have since tested positive, were quarantined after exhibiting symptoms. He said after the senior officer went on quarantine the building was sanitised on August 26 and the following day. While he understood the civilian staff’s concerns, he denied any attempt to conceal information or that the building was not being sanitised.
Several officers at police stations across the county have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing some of their colleagues to be sent into quarantine and the buildings where they worked being temporarily shut down for sanitisation. The entire staff at the Barrackpore Police Station has been in quarantine for about two weeks. The station is being manned by officers from other stations within the division. Last month there was a similar occurrence at the Princes Town Police Station.