CHICAGO (CBS) — With a new coronavirus surge, the Chicago Police Department has launched a new campaign to encourage officers and employees to wear their masks.
The “I Wear My Mask” messaging includes video a video featuring Supt. David Brown and several other officers stressing the importance of wearing masks to protect themselves and the public. The department is also posting signs in all CPD districts to remind officers of the mandate to wear face coverings.
But we’ve learned teams of cops are going maskless on extended duty in close contact with others, and one officer says they were told to stay on the job after being exposed to the virus at work if they had no symptoms.
On Saturday, an officer assigned to the 14th District tested positive for COVID-19. That officer was among many others assigned to start duty aboard a CTA bus, standing by for hours in case of civil unrest related to the election.
One Chicago police officer agreed to speak with CBS 2 if their identify was concealed. The officer is from the 14th District and with others was assigned to a CTA bus in the past week. They were driven to the Brickyard Mall at Diversey and Narragansett and the Humboldt Park Boathouse.
“I think it’s unsafe to have people together on one bus,” said the officer.
From there, the officers would be deployed, if needed, from November 3 to the 8th because of the presidential election. During some shifts, they stayed on buses for up to eight hours.
“We’re sitting on the buses. Nobody is wearing masks. We’re all very relaxed. Even in the daily operation of going to roll call, nobody is wearing a mask,” said the officer.
The officer added those who worked with the person who tested positive for the virus were told to fill out an exposure report. If they have no symptoms of COVID-19, they’ve been told they should report back to work.
“I don’t feel that’s safe for myself, my family or my coworkers,” the officer said.
The CTA said officers are dropped off at their locations, and do not sit on the buses.
Chicago police said officers are being reminded to wear masks in any area or condition where six feet of social distancing can’t be maintained.
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