We struggle to provide cops with protective gear, says NJ attorney general


Like other first responders, cops are burning the personal protective equipment needed to ward off the coronavirus, state attorney general Gurbir Grewal said on Thursday.

“We are struggling, we are absolutely struggling with PPE in this state,” Grewal told NJ Advance Media.

Equipment should be kept for serious calls like violent crime, he said, but cops had to use it to break up parties defying the governor’s stay-at-home order.

“The supply of PPE should not be wasted on dispersing gatherings when we should all know better,” Grewal said. Officers have dismantled more than a dozen illegal events so far.

Several cops have tested positive for COVID-19, from larger agencies like Newark, Jersey City and NJ Transit, to small towns like Fanwood and Hazlet. State police previously said four soldiers and two recruits tested positive.

Two officers who were in “serious condition” were now “stable,” Acting State Police Commissioner Patrick Callahan said on Thursday.

The health department recently began telling cops which residences have coronavirus patients, so police can better prepare before answering a call. However, patient names are not shared and the information cannot be used to decline service, officials said.

Some departments also limit face-to-face contact, and others deliberately do not enforce certain low-level infractions. Grewal also recommended that cops delay filing some criminal charges.

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Blake Nelson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @BCunninghamN.


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