Virginia Beach Police Union president wants officers on the front lines protected during pandemic

Posted at 3:59 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 17:33:48-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Policing in a coronavirus world is tough and can be dangerous.

News 3 met up with the Virginia Beach Police Benevolent Association President Brian Luciano to talk to him about what it is like for police as the pandemic continues.

“It’s been eerie to see the streets empty and businesses closed early,” said Luciano.

While working the evening shift, he said it is very noticeable and shocking, especially in the Hilltop and Town Center areas of the city.

He said police continue to get calls for service and they keep coming in like normal in this coronavirus world.

“We’re still out there on the front lines. We’re still going to calls for service. We’re still going to hospitals for calls for service. We’re still going into retirement homes. We’re still encountering homeless people on the streets,” said Luciano.

He said while on the job, he and other police officers try to keep practicing social distancing, but he says it can be tough in their line of work.

“You can’t keep social distance when you are taking somebody into custody," said Luciano. “A lot of our job is hands-on, and there’s nothing you can do about that.”

He said he appreciates the actions some agencies are taking.

“When I responded to the Virginia Beach Psych Center, there’s somebody there to triage me before they allowed me further into the building,” said Luciano.

Related: Law enforcement making changes to procedures while dealing with coronavirus

He said they stopped him by the entrance, had him fill out a checklist, asked him medical questions and took his temperature.

He believes all first responders across the country should have their health monitored daily before and after shift - to protect them, their families and the public.

“I think that citizens should know that I’ve been checked, and I fear that we may be dropping the ball on that. When test kits become available, I think first-responders need to be at the top of the line to get them,” said Luciano. “Precautions are being taken - I just don’t believe that it’s enough and I think there’s more that can be done.”

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