Three officers at Carthage Police Department test positive for COVID-19

Department limiting contact with community
Carthage Police Department

CARTHAGE, Mo. – “Not only are they around the community all the time, but they’re also around our staff all the time,” says Chad Dininger at Carthage Police Department.

On September 11th, the Carthage Police Department learned that three officers had tested positive for COVID-19. All three are now in isolation.

“I believe all of them are doing fine right now. They are showing symptoms. So we’re taking precautions obviously to make sure our staff and the community is safe,” says Dininger.

The administrative staff has shifted to working from home, and officers won’t respond to calls in person, unless a physical response is needed, such as in the case of a domestic disturbance or accident, in an effort to limit contact with residents.

“If it can be handled over the phone, then that’s what we’re gonna do,” explains Dininger. “You might not have that officer show up just if you would ask a question, cause that’s normally something we might go to.”

Dininger explains that they still have a full patrol staff because officers who normally wouldn’t be on the streets have been shifted into the positions while the three officers aren’t at work.

They aren’t sure yet how many other officers may be considered close contacts since contact tracing is still underway. But Jasper County Health Department Director Tony Moehr explains that, under federal and CDC guidance, officers who are found to be close contacts may not have to stop working if they don’t have symptoms.

“In a case of police officers or other emergency essential employees under quarantine, they can resume work under certain circumstances. They have to make sure their contact with individuals is limited, they remain a distance from all other, have to wear masks all the time, monitor symptoms,” says Moehr.

Dininger says the department is monitoring others for symptoms, and that they are following the guidance of the health department to make sure they can still protect the community.

“Police protection, police response is still there, and you know we’ve taken the steps to ensure their safety. So we’re still there.”

The department has also temporarily halted the city taxi service.