Texas Police and Fire Departments Struggle with COVID-19 Absences

Police & Fire Departments in Texas Struggle With Employee Absences
Fort Worth Police Department police vehicle. | Image from The Texan

Several police and fire departments in Texas are struggling due to a spike in COVID-19 cases among their staff. Currently, the Fort Worth Fire Department is one of those experiencing struggles, with 116 employees out of 927 firefighters out due to COVID-related illnesses.

The Fort Worth Police Department is also reporting several officers and other staff out due to COVID-19, following reports of 56 positive COVID-19 cases at the beginning of January. Just a week prior, the department reported 24 cases. The police department stated that roughly 500 officers are fully vaccinated, but the surge has still affected many on the force.

“We addressed these same challenges when COVID first hit and are prepared to move personnel around to make sure we continue to serve Fort Worth without an interruption in service,” Captain Shawn Stone of the Fort Worth Police Department has shared.

Stone went on to share how the department is meeting the challenges of having so many officers absent from the force while they quarantine and recover from COVID-19.

“We are filling in our vacancies with some personnel from specialized units within the department,” explained Shawn Stone, Captain of the Fort Worth Police Department. “Also, we are using personnel from other patrol functions, not call answering positions, to help out with the answering calls.”

Both the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire Department are facing similar struggles, with roughly 200 officers and firefighters out due to COVID-19. More than 150 of those out are first responders on the force. This week, the Dallas Police Department reported four dozen new cases. Officials continue to remind the public that they are working to find creative solutions to keep communities safe.

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