Five Erie police officers will not be returning to work for two weeks after coming in contact with a suspect who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The officers responded to a call about a large group disturbance.
What the officers did not realize is that after they were able to arrest someone for drugs, they wouldn’t be able to return to the station for another 14 days.
Around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, officers with the Erie Police Department made way to East Lake Road and Dunn Boulevard.
“The disturbance was for fireworks and a large crowd that was leaving the club there. When the officers got there, they dispersed the crowd, but then there was a car on the sidewalk and when they went up closer was when they discovered the drugs,” said Chief Dan Spizarny of the Erie Police Department.
Police say that two people were in the car. One was a 27-year-old male who tried running from the officers.
It wasn’t until the man was arrested and transported that he made the officers aware that he believed he had COVID-19 but had yet to be tested.
“The officers were properly protected, but because the situation escalated when he resisted arrest, the officers fear that there masks weren’t in place during the fight. There were hands on physically. He became sick in the police car so there were a lot of factors that went into this that made those five officers be quarantined,” said Spizarny.
The suspect was taken to the hospital and given a rapid test which came back positive.
Following the incident, the Erie Police Department made the county aware. This way the prison could take any precaution as needed.
“He was taken into the Erie County Jail and was put into a negative airflow room and that’s really good because it protects the rest of the jail and inmates from COVID-19,” said Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive.
Each of the cruisers that the officers were in as well as the one the suspect got sick in have been disinfected.
Chief Spizarny explained that as of now each of the officers are doing well at this time.