The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By DavidStevens
Staff 

COVID-19 postpones police ceremony

Officer’s family member has tested positive for the virus.

 

May 31, 2020



CLOVIS — A family member of a Clovis police officer has tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in the postponement of a police flag ceremony that had been scheduled for Wednesday.

An email from Chief Doug Ford to a dozen recipients, obtained by The News on Friday, states:

“We have had a day shift officer family member test positive for COVID-19. This has possibly placed part of our organization at exposure to this disease and we do not (want) to put anyone else at risk. At this time I am delaying the event, until we are sure our personnel are free of any infection. If you have any questions please contact me. Have a great day and stay safe.”

City officials have not issued any public notifications about the possible exposure and did not answer questions from The News regarding the extent of the officer’s contact with the public.

City Manager Justin Howalt late Friday issued the following statement via email:

“Upon notification by the officer, the officer was immediately sent home and notified of the protocols which needed to be followed. This includes quarantine.

“All precautions have been taken with all other personnel within the department and we have been doing everything we can to protect our public safety employees including monitoring temperatures. This practice was in place prior to this notification by the officer.

“The city has had two testing opportunities for all personnel with the most recent being conducted yesterday (Thursday). To date, no city employees have tested positive.

“The medical conditions of any employee are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). We are following all state and federal guidelines.”

Howalt did not say why the public was not notified of the incident, whether the officer has been tested for the virus or whether test results are known. Molecular-swab tests, generally considered the most reliable for the virus, usually take about five days.

The 30-minute flag ceremony was intended to honor longtime officers Doug Miller and Leon Morris, who both died this month. The ceremony had been scheduled for Thursday.

Sgt. Miller, 70, died May 18. After retiring from the Clovis PD with 20-plus years, he became a magistrate judge in Clovis.

Capt. Morris, 73, died May 14. He spent 35 years as a law officer in Tucumcari and Clovis.

 
 

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