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Delta Police hit the ground running in dealing with pandemic

A salute to Delta's First Responders a year into the COVID-19 pandemic
Delta Police
Delta Police needed to hit the ground running to keep officers safe while carrying out their duties when the COVID-19 pandemic struck a year ago.

This is among series of stories on Delta’s First Responders, a year after COVID-19 became a world-wide pandemic.

It’s been a sprint for Delta Police since the COVID-19 pandemic struck a year ago and the department is hoping to see some kind of finish line in the months ahead.

While public buildings, businesses and organizations were able to pause and make adjustments, including temporary closures, mandatory mask requirements and limited occupancy, there is no such luxury as a first responder.

Insp. Kim Campbell is part of DPD’s human resources team that has had the dubious task of preparing officers and staff for an unprecedented world-wide crisis.

“Although we are prepared for any type of emergency that occurs within our community, this pandemic, virus and the transmissibility of it was something we really had to be built on the fly because we were always open and never shut down,” said Campbell. “We have a very small human resource team here and when we pressed the emergency button saying, okay we are into this on March 11, we really came together as a team and worked around the clock to really make sure we didn’t miss a step.

“The expectation of the public and the expectation of our officers is when our people call us and they are in need we have to be able to respond. We have to be able to respond faithfully, not only to protect the front line, but protect our members and protect the community, which we serve.”

Campbell is proud of how the department handled what she describes as “drinking from a firehose” of information during the early days of the pandemic whether it be through emails, info graphs or material given out at shift meetings.

“It really was overwhelming the amount of information they were given at the time,” she added. “We needed to provide top notch tips and equipment to do their jobs.”

Campbell also noted this was happening as the pandemic was also greatly impacting the personal lives of officers, whether it was having children and understanding what was happening within their schools or living in a multi-generational household. In some instances it has even meant isolating from family members to continue working.

Even with the mass vaccination roll out underway and first responders now prioritized for some time next month, Campbell doesn’t expect officers not having to wear facemasks and other PPE anytime soon.

“I am no expert but would suggest come summer we should have a good handle on what vaccine looks like in the community re-accessing our protocol at that time, but there will be situations where we will continue to wear masks for calls that our high risks,” she said. “I’m really proud how the men and women in this organization and how they have handled the pressure from a variety of things.”

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