BSO Deputies Try to Balance Policing and Protection from COVID-19

Sgt. Jeremy Hansen is seeing the patrolling he’s done for more than two decades change right before his eyes. 

On Tuesday, he was on a call where a neighbor thought shouting could turn into domestic violence. Hansen and the other deputies were wearing masks and gloves when responding.

It's a precaution that has become the new norm since the coronavirus pandemic. Hansen says the thought of the virus enters his mind a lot.

He’s got a job to do, but his wife and five kids are always on his mind.

“Its always a very difficult balance," Hansen says. "When I go to a call, I’ve got to don my protective gear so that I can protect myself and I can protect my family."

Broward Sheriff's Office - the department Hansen works for - is currently mourning the loss of a deputy who contracted the virus, Shannon Bennett.

As of now, 36 BSO employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.  

Hansen says these days police try to get people to come outside and talk to them, keeping a safe distance.

“It usually requires us to call the people out. Where we bring them out into the front yard," Hansen says. "It not only gives us an adequate social distancing level, but it allows open air - great for officer safety - and it allows us to see them without any weapons.”

Hansen and another officer ultimately did have to go inside on the call. When it comes to making arrests, they realize the risks. 

“Unfortunately, there is always that time when education doesn’t work, when warnings don’t work, or a violation is so egregious that the person is going to have to be taken into custody and go to jail."  

When that happens, the deputies go through a decontamination procedure — a sign of police work in these unprecedented times.

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