Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- An officer with the Park Forest Police Department has contracted COVID-19 and is recovering at home, Police Chief Christopher Mannino said in a statement Monday. No additional information about the officer will be released, Chief Mannino said.
“It is unfortunate that the occasion has arisen to notify you that we have our first known positive case of COVID19 among our police personnel,” the chief said on social media. “We are in daily contact with the officer who is recuperating at home with moderate symptoms.”
“Out of respect for privacy, no additional information about officer will be released,” Chief Mannino said.
The chief expressed hope that “the extensive steps we have been taking to limit exposure, including required Personal Protective Equipment on all calls for service, drastically increased sanitization of police vehicles and the police facility, and the use of face coverings and social distancing even when working within the police department, will limit the spread among additional personnel.”
The chief then added a personal statement, referencing his four-year-old daughter.
“I want to take this moment to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of the men and women of the Park Forest Police Department who continue to work through this pandemic to keep Park Forest safe. When I leave for work in the morning, my 4-year-old believes I am leaving ‘to get bad guys.’ What she is not yet old enough to understand is that as Chief I rarely have the opportunity ‘to get bad guys’ anymore and that we now have a new bad guy to contend with, one that we cannot even see.”
“Throughout this ordeal, I have witnessed our personnel, both sworn and civilian staff, continue to work with this increased risk without complaint,” the chief said, stressing that there has been no increase in call-offs during the pandemic. “They continue to protect and serve, all the while knowing their already dangerous jobs are now even more so.”
“Recognizing my own bias,” the statement continued, “I believe that you have some of the best men and women policing anywhere in the US policing here in Park Forest. I hope that you are as proud of them as I am.
“We will continue to be here for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please do your part by staying home for all but essential travel, and look with us to that day when a smile isn’t from behind a mask and a handshake replaces a wave from some distance.”
“We will get through this together,” Chief Mannino concluded.
We offer our heartfelt gratitude for the work of the women and men of the Park Forest Police Department, and our prayers for the officer as he or she continues to recover.