The Los Angeles Police Department is expected to switch to 12-hour shifts for its officers in the coming weeks and cancel all vacations as a way to staff up in response to the coronavirus outbreak, a law enforcement source told the L.A. Times.
The department is also planning to assign officers to each of the city’s new emergency shelters, which are expected to grow in number, according to the source familiar with the plans who was unable to speak publicly about them.
The plans are still being finalized but are part of a larger effort by the LAPD to mobilize and be of assistance during the public health crisis.
Earlier this month, the LAPD said it would shift half the detectives working in its community stations to daily patrol to ensure public peace.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the time that the city’s detectives would start working on the streets to “help supplement our patrol officers.”
Some detectives already are out there, the mayor said, to “make sure that any challenges that arise in our neighborhoods and grocery stores” are dealt with and to help people “feel secure in the city.”
Officials said that, at a minimum, that would provide at least 300 additional officers to patrol, and potentially more.
On Saturday, a third Los Angeles police officer tested positive for the coronavirus infection and was exhibiting symptoms in an LAPD station for several days this week, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to The Times on Saturday on condition of anonymity.
The officer, who had recently returned from a vacation out of the country, was “coughing and sweating” during roll call in Central Division, which patrols areas that include downtown L.A., two of the officials said.
The LAPD released a statement late Saturday confirming the positive test result. The officer was sent home once a supervisor became aware of the individual’s possible illness, according to the statement.
“We have also identified anyone who may have come in contact with the employee and directed them to a contract healthcare provider for evaluation,” the statement read. “The Department has established guidelines for all employees who either exhibit symptoms of the virus or come in contact with someone who may be infected.”
Two other LAPD employees — a supervisor in the Pacific Division and a high-ranking employee described as a “member of the senior staff” — have also tested positive for the illness, the LAPD has confirmed. Sources told The Times as many as 14 LAPD employees had been tested for the virus.
Cleaning crews have disinfected the officer’s work station, according to the LAPD statement, which noted it was likely that more first responders would grow ill as the spread of the virus worsened.