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Are law enforcement officers supposed to wear masks?

It depends on the department. There is no state or federal law. Every department has their own guidelines.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — When I got my teeth cleaned Tuesday, the hygienist was wearing a mask and a face shield. When I went to a restaurant over the weekend, the sever was wearing a mask. When I go shopping I also wear a mask.

These are all scenarios where it is recommended masks are to be worn,
but it's not a law or a rule. A WFMY News 2 viewer asked, “Are law enforcement officers supposed to wear masks?” The answer isn't a simple yes or no.

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2 Wants To Know asked area departments. Here are the answers to the ones who responded:

Greensboro Police: There is no official policy, but we do have guidelines for officers and all police department employees to follow.

Employees will in most circumstances wear a mask when they are unable to properly socially distance or when dealing with the public in an enclosed environment.

If a business or service provider such as a restaurant, store, hospital or shelter, encourages or requires a mask to be worn to gain entry or a complete business, we will respect those instructions and wear our face coverings as well.

In situations where the application or wearing of a face-covering poses imminent harm or danger to an officer or a member of the public, officers will make a decision that is in the best interest of public safety.

Guilford County Sheriff’s Dept: We provide PPE for our staff in the field but it is left up to the individual officer if they choose to wear a mask.

Alamance County Sheriff’s Dept: Our deputies have discretion in wearing mask except the following:

First Responder Calls (First Aid/CPR) - Deputies should put on PPE including face shield kN95 or N95 mask, and gloves. Render aid until EMS/FIRE arrives and then let them take over.

When entering a residence/business that Central Communications has advised ‘yellow flag’ (definition for possible Covid-19 presence).

Rockingham County Sheriff’s Dept: No policy here. Officer discretion. Sheriff Page issued each of us one but it’s up to the officer and the nature of the call for service.

Randolph County Sheriff’s Dept: 

All patrol deputies wear a protective three-layer surgical mask or an N95 mask and nitrile gloves (Both provided by the Sheriff’s Office for their protection. They were issued masks beginning in March. They also have cloth mask donated by citizens.) when they are:

  • Responding to a call for service that requires you to enter any Business or Residence in order to take a report or handle any situation that may arise.
  • This also includes large gatherings/parties no matter if they are located inside or outside. Mask and Protective Gloves will be worn on every DOA/Medical call you respond to whether it is inside or outside. Wear a mask on every call that you could possibly have contact.
  • Stopping or searching vehicles for any reason will require a protective mask and gloves. Be sure you call in your stop before you initiate it. Have your gloves and mask ready.
  • A mask and protective nitrile gloves will be used at all times that you have anyone inside your patrol car for an escort, interviewing subjects or when transporting prisoners to the Randolph County Detention Center.

All Randolph County patrol deputies will practice proper social distancing techniques when on calls if at all possible. I realize that sometimes we are all on top of each other when it is close quarters, this cannot be helped at times and is understandable. Wear your mask and gloves.

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