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APD officer tests positive for COVID-19

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

For the first time since the pandemic hit, an Albuquerque Police Department officer has been sent home to quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.

APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said Saturday that the officer was exposed from personal travel and not “work-related contact.” Several of the officer’s colleagues have since been tested, with negative results.

“While we prepared for this possibility, it’s not easy to see our own officer go through this illness,” Police Chief Mike Geier said in a statement. “We are thankful the officer is not very ill with symptoms, and we are doing all we can to support the officer.”

In a written statement, Deputy Chief Mike Smathers said the incident is a reminder that the threat of COVID-19 is “still very real to us all.”

“We continually remind our officers to remain vigilant to protect themselves, their families, and the public they serve,” Smathers said.

In April, APD went through a scare when dozens of officers were quarantined after coming into contact with a federal officer who had the virus. All 39 APD officers and two civilian employees returned to work after test results came back negative.

Gallegos said APD has taken several precautions to mitigate risk from COVID-19, including issuing officers personal protection equipment, making power washers available to sterilize vehicles and minimizing exposure with the public and prisoners. Officers were urged to conduct business over the phone or electronically when possible.

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