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Fall River’s police union concerned protective supplies running low, Mayor Coogan says supplies are adequate



In an email to 163 officers on Sunday, Fall River police union leadership detailed the dwindling amount of supplies available to protect officers serving the community. Below is the text from the email sent to all Fall River Patrolmen’s Union members early Sunday afternoon:

“Pre existing Medical Condition
Sun 4/5/2020 12:39 PM

All members of FRPA Local 1854,

I would like to take this time to assure everyone that we have been strongly advocating for your safety and well-being from the onset of this declared Covid-19 pandemic and particularly since this agency enacted the Emergency Action Plan as a result of the pandemic. We have communicated with all levels of command up to and including the Chief of Police regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) and modified call response. Other than the emergency action plan, which is viewable via the DMS portal, we have not received any feedback regarding the modified call response and the situation is being assessed on a daily basis. As for PPE gear, we have been informed that the department as a whole has approximately 200 N95 respirator masks and approximately 200 surgical/dust masks. There is no longer any disinfectant aerosol spray and there are only a couple disinfectant wipe containers remaining on supply. As you know, this virus is a respiratory illness and the obvious measures of frequent hand washing is advised as well as utilizing a proper mask, such as N95, to protect yourself and a surgical/dust mask for an infected individual to contain their virus from spreading. We have been advised that masks will be available to us while performing our duties on a daily basis so if you’re in need of a mask, request one from your supervisor. Due to the low number of available masks, I would suggest holding onto that mask for as long of a period as possible to preserve the department’s supply but, by all means, if you need a mask, gloves, or any other PPE gear, request those items from your supervisor.

We also suggest that if someone has a pre-existing health condition that would complicate your recovery from the Covid-19 virus and your job function places you at a high risk of contracting the virus, communicate with your primary care physician. We would suggest discussing the risk factors as it relates to your condition and allow him/her to determine if being excused from duty is in the best interest of your health and well-being. If your physician determines that your pre-existing condition is such that you should remain out of work due to the risk, request he/she provide you a written notice of such then provide that to your supervisor. With the low supply and availability of PPE gear and the length of time this pandemic may last, it would be prudent for you to protect yourself and your family. If you have any questions regarding this process, you may speak with Michael McConnell, David Lafleur, or myself.

Edmond Desmarais
Secretary FRPA”

When asked for a comment, Mayor Coogan stated that he feels all departments, including the fire department, are adequately stocked with protective equipment. When he asked for an inventory at 10:30 am, the Fall River Police Department reported to him that they have 650 masks on hand, both surgical and N95, and that they had enough other supplies for 30 days of operation.

The mayor was also quick to point out that the City of Fall River has an order in with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for 500 N95 masks, 500 surgical masks, 500 safety gowns, 500 safely goggles and 300 pairs of gloves. Mayor Coogan stated the supplies are expected to arrive sometime this week.

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