SJPD Opens New Command Center for COVID-19 Response

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The San Jose Police Department has a new command center for its response to COVID-19.

Officials use the command center to track which officers tested positive, which are symptomatic, and when others will be able to report for duty.

On Monday, NBC Bay Area got an exclusive look inside that command center.

Lt. Steve Donohue is currently assigned to the command center for the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the virus, Donohue spearheaded the recruitment unit.

Now he spends his days in the command center, logging, tracking, and assisting officers who are either showing symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus.

"We meet as a group, talk about what we saw overnight or over the weekend," Donohue said. "So we're all on the same page and reach out to all the officers."

SJPD as of Monday has one reserve officer and one sworn officers who are isolated at home after testing positive for COVID-19.

More than a dozen others are also staying away from work, either with symptoms, or because they may have been exposed to someone who has coronavirus.

"There is no playbook for this," Chief Eddie Garcia said. "So as we go, we're just thinking of different ideas to do. We know our men and women go out there every day, but to say they're not concerned is foolish -- of course they're concerned."

The command center calls those officers at home every day. And with the help of the police union, the department delivers meals or groceries, or whatever the officer at home might need.

Those on duty and responding to calls do so in protective gear. And if the command center can obtain the information, they'll even be able to track which homes in San Jose have someone inside with COVID-19.

"We're learning as we go and trying to be as proactive as possible," Garcia said. "But at the same time mitigate the impact of COVID-19 as much as we can."

Police officials said all officers are tested immediately when they start showing symptoms. And on the plus side, 11 officers so far have tested negative, which brings peace of mind to those officers.

Like some businesses, any San Jose officer with exposure or with COVID-19 concerns is put on paid administrative leave so they do not have to lose their sick days.

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